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FAQs on Marine Disease Treatments

Related Articles: Treating Marine Disease, Biological Cleaners, Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Antibiotic Use

Related FAQs:  Treating Marine Parasitic Diseases, Treatment Tanks

Corythoichthys schultzi Herald 1953, Schultz's Pipefish. More livestock is killed by "cures" than disease.

About beta glucan for fish      2/1/20
Dear Mr. Fenner
<Hey Vik>
How are you? I hope you are fine. I’m reading your website regularly and want to thank you for the your tips and answers. It is very needy for us.
<Ahh, very glad to share>
And I have a question too ;)
What do you think about glucan for fish? I saw couple different materials about fish diseases and authors wrote about glucan as good idea for treatment (?), fish health and immune system in general.
<A very valuable adjunct to feed formulas... as well as potential for injection... for health overall, and growth. A good basic review here: http://aquafind.com/articles/Beta-glucans-in-Aquaculture.php>
Also I saw glucan as ingredient of fish food from different manufacturers(Tropical etc.).
<Yes; I consider it a worthy ingredient>
I hope you’ll find time for answer.
Thank you and have a nice day!)
Kind regards,
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: About beta glucan for fish      2/1/20

Dear Mr. Fenner,
<Hey Vik!>
thank you very much for your answer and your opinion. I'll learn this material.
Have a nice day
<And you, BobF>

API medication vs. Prazi...      7/23/19
It will be rather hard to get my hands on API general cure,
<"500 mg Metronidazole and 150 mg Praziquantel per teaspoon.">
it might be easier to go for PraziPro.
<"A proprietary blend of water-soluble ingredients, Oxybispropanol (as an inert solubilizing agent) & <5% Praziquantel by Weight">
Would you recon it would be as efficient as General cure?
<... Not really... the API product has Flagyl/Metronidazole in addition to the Prazi they both contain... Prazi is specifically a vermifuge; acts only against worms... It that's all you're treating for, either will work.
Bob Fenner>

Hospital Tank; filt.       7/15/15
Hello Crew,
I am In the process of starting up a 20 gallon hospital tank that I would probably run 24/7 and had a question or two. Once I cycle the tank from using sponge filters that I have had sitting in my main display sump won't the copper that I use for medication deplete the bacteria that I used to cycle the hospital tank?
<Yes; can; likely in time>

and if so what do I need to do to keep the tank cycled for the 24/7 duration that I plan on using it for ?
<Mainly water changes.... replacement of the biomedia>
also, when it is time to introduce the fish from the hospital tank to the main display won't this introduce copper to the main display from which the fish came from?
<Not if you don't move much water with the fishes; no>
Thanks Ed
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Question about information organization. Mar. disease... the beg. of a beautiful friendship/collaboration possibly
There is so much bad information on the internet about how to diagnose and treat disease in fish. I am trying to diagnose and understand how to treat a puffer fish I have and read through most of the "FAQs" on your site.
However, the information is very hard to parse.
<Mmm; do you have suggestions on how to improve the organization; get what is useful to folks more easily?>

Often the response is "go read THIS" which is just another serious of QandA style sessions where good information is very hard to pluck out. Do you have anything that is formatted that covers.
1. How to diagnose disease.
<Am in the process of writing books re>

a. I have microscopes, patience, brain power etc. Get is technical as you need to.
<Ahh! I would invest in Ed Noga (either addn.) "Fish Disease. Diagnosis and Treatment". Avail. as an e-book I believe>
2. A well-structured listing of treatments that have been verified and actually work and why.
<Ed's works are the best... I have them, most all written on the general subject>
3. A listing of commercial products that are bogus/scams.
<This is best on WWM. As we don't take the monies (for advertising) from such partial to total scam outfits; we can and do "name names'>

I can clearly feel a sense of frustration by the repeat questions and the lack of research people do before asking.
<Ah, you are perceptive>
I feel if you had a well-structured document instead of a dump of QandA that you would get many less repeat questions. If you help me pull all of the information together I would love to format it, code it and put it up on your site (for free) for others to consume.
<Oh! Am REALLY very interested in coordinating with you re this possibility... There is a HUGE need for such an inexpensive, hobbyist-version (less technical, more practical) vis a Untergasser, Gratzek, Blasiola, Noga et al.s works>
As far as puffers go the general gist of what I read is.
1. Most commercial treatments are snake oil.
<Not most; as in more than half; but a sizable (too large) percentage>

2. Clean the water, provide a large tank and do nothing.
<Mmm; not really... best is prevention... through good species, specimen selection... Next, provision of optimized, stable settings, Third: isolation, prophylactic measures to rest up new livestock, knock off
external issues, treatment for lumenal.... somewhere near last are details re materia medicae>
Nicholas Wellinghoff
<We'll be chatting... I want you to think how we might best "get together" the organization for this/these in-print and e-works... Should we have a simple flow chart of what's what, what to do, in ADDN. to a book-length tome? Should there be a separate freshwater and marine work? Bob Fenner>
Re Question about information organization    7/30/14

<Nick; I responded to this today already. Do you not have my response? Bob Fenner>
There is so much bad information on the internet about how to diagnose and treat disease in fish. I am trying to diagnose and understand how to treat a puffer fish I have and read through most of the "FAQs" on your site.
re: Question about information organization    7/30/14

I do not? What response are you referring to?
<Mmm; strange. Can see here on the WWM dailies:
Question about information organization. Mar. disease... the beg. of a beautiful friendship/collaboration possibly
Re: Question about information organization
. Fish disease writing projects, WWM   7/31/14
Ahh I see it now. The problem is the inline QandA dump of information.
<You do see, find the often-associated articles linked above these FAQs files?>
While this is nice because it's easy to manage. It makes it hard to figure out what is going on. It's just overwhelming to look at and parse. I think the QandA should be attached to a formal article on the subject.
<Umm, they are when there are such articles on subjects>
For example.

Is a GREAT, well-structured article on treating Ick. It lacks in pictures and diagnoses procedures but those could be added. E.G. I read that article and I get a complete picture of what it is, how to treat it, pros and cons etc. The QandA section could be below the article. Such that you naturally read the article before you ask a question. Then you, the administrator, will delete useless QandA sessions that bring no value to the overall page.
<Ah yes... unfortunately, this takes time... I don't often have. To review and pick out "the best of" and post these after the articles would be very useful. Have made "best of FAQs" a few times; am splitting up most larger (multiple file) "disease" FAQs files (into diagnosis, env., nutr., trauma, social, pathogenic, treatments... subFAQs files>
Which I would say is 50% of the questions. If a question is brought up multiple times it then gets elevated to be included in the main article as an addition.
The core question is do you want to put this up on the internet for free or put it in the books?
<The books are better; as they screen people as being "serious enough" to warrant paying some nominal/minimal amount to "get the whole story". People don't generally "read" more than a few sentences, paragraphs on any part of the Net>
I don't know how much money the books make, but it would seem if you have a quality content site that gets a lot of traffic the advertising revenue could supplement your book revenue and make the effort of organization worth it.
<Seem is the operative term here. The books don't generate much revenue (compared w/ ad revenue), but "are fun" to produce at this time...
can/could be added to WWM for free download at a later date>
Maybe as a first project we can make a fish disease product matrix. It lists all known products on the x axis and all known fish diseases on the y axis.
<Interesting possibility... See Nelson Herwig... there are books that recount the utility... there's not much>
We can have separate tables for marine and fresh. Then in each cell there is a green V icon if the product is scientifically supported and verified to work by the community, a U for unknown, and a red ?
<Sounds good.>
for "questionable" products. Then when you click on the icon it takes you to an actual description of said product with the Active ingredient, studies that support it, why it works and all kinds of good geek information that is actually useful. E.G. Strip out the worthless marketing hype. If you provide the data I will write the code.
Want to start there? If it is actually good and drives internet traffic, vendors might feel pressured to make their stuff actually work out of fear of being included on the WWM matrix with a ? :)
<Heeee! I appreciate your enthusiasm... the crooks, okay, charlatans won't go I assure you. Bob Fenner>
RE: Question about information organization
Ok here is my first crack at it. What do you think? Just double click on the htm file.
Nick; can't open,... please send non-compressed. And to my personal email going forward: fennerrobert@hotmail.com
for whatever reason/s, the WWM webmail prog. is sending your incoming to the dustbin. B
RE: Question about information organization
Oh yeah, use Firefox to view it. Have not made chrome and IE versions yet.
<Yikes... all I use are the two latter>

No reading, sense in treating a large SW sys.        10/29/13
I have a 500 gallon salt water fish only aquarium with a uv sterilizer and protein skimmer. The tank is about 3 months old and I transferred all my fish from my old 210 gallon into the 500 tank. Of course I went with bigger skimmer and wet dry filter.
<Not a favored mode nowayears; particularly for large/r volumes. Search/read on WWM re... >
I have a combination of bio balls and matrix in sump. I just recently added a tusk and he died after two weeks.
<Search/read on WWM re selection of Choerodon fasciata... many are bunk... from the P.I....>
 I just added a Naso tang and he ate well but now about two weeks later has glossy eyes and frayed fins. I have been dipping him in ParaGuard
<...? For what, reason?>
 but I  need to treat the tank but my problem is I have two bamboo coral cat sharks that are doing real good.

I know I cant use copper
<Actually, Hemiscylliids aren't particularly toxified by copper salts... But, I would treat with quinine compound (QS, CP) if it were me, mine and there was a DEMONSTRATED use here (microscopic confirmation...)... Do you have a Kindle acct.? I've just published an eBk on Sharks, Rays... you can borrow, read for free... otherwise all of this is gone over and over on
WWM... you'd just have to search a bit more>
how about melafix
<... you joking? See WWM re... Done. Bob Fenner>
 in the tank with sharks.
Thank you for your assistance.

Coppersafe with filtration, Marine Treatment 11/3/08 Hello crew! I have a few questions for you this evening. I am currently treating my 20 gallon FOWLR with coppersafe for Ich. <Hopefully not the main tank.> It says on the box to maintain normal filtration. Does this mean don't remove the carbon or turn off my skimmer? <I would remove the carbon and shut down the skimmer.> What would you recommend I should do? I currently have my carbon removed but my skimmer is still running. I have been fighting an uphill battle for a few weeks now, so I broke down and bought (what I was told) one of the best ich medications out there. <Yes, but toxic to marine invertebrate life and likely absorbed by the live rock and sand, potentially making your tank inhospitable to invertebrate life and killing off your live rock. It can also wreak havoc with your biofilter so make sure the tank does not begin to cycle.> So I am hoping my LFS is correct. Also my copper is at about 1.5 ppm. Is this within therapeutic range? <Yes> Thank you all so much. Shea <Welcome> <Chris>

Praise to you on your WetWebMedia    8/14/08 Bob Fenner. Congratulations on the continuing success of  WetWebMedia. It is truly an incredibly extensive and wide ranging  site. You are providing a remarkably good service to aquatic animal  keeping. And you are obviously continuing to be very very busy. <High praise indeed coming from you Dr. Bob. And very glad to find you still involved in ornamental aquatics. I am given to understand that you had sold Kordon-Novalek> I am continuing to pursue R & D for our company (now transferred over  to Kordon LLC from Novalek) and am involved among various projects of  researching probiotics for fish keeping. Do you have or know about  where to go for leads on those pursuing this  topic? Experts? Successful providers of products in  probiotics? Any ideas you or others might have on directions to pursue? <Mmm, yes... I would ask George at: Bassleer Biofish, www.bassleer.com and esp. the mother/daughter owners of Preis-Aquaristik www.aquaristik-preis.de   I do think the folks at Eco Lift have some work going on in this field as well. There are some great innovations "coming right up" for our industry in this field, but the hurdles of application, testing, certification by gov't agencies... I don't look forward to> I would be much obliged for any help you can provide. Best regards. /.R3 <Hope to see you about Dr. Rofen, Bob Fenner>

Re: live rock, Cupramine  5/31/07 Hi! <Mark> Thank you for your quick response! So far, I have been coping with the outbreaks... feeding with garlic, which helps for a day or 2, then the ich comes back... (of course). <And further debilitating your fishes...> Now, my damsels have acquired the 'crypt' as well. I want to set up a hospital tank, as it only costs about $60 to set-up... or AT LEAST a freshwater bath.... However, I REALLY can't catch any of these fish. <My friend... remove the rock, other decor, drain the tank... This is NOT that hard> My feeble attempts have only led the fish to loose my trust, and when they see the net- there's no chance. Any tips you can offer for catching the fish? <Two nets and the above...> In the meantime, I've decided to upgrade my whole set-up- (I figure it may help)... Getting rid of my Prizm Pro and replacing with a Remora Pro, adding a Eheim pro (wet-dry, I think), <I wouldn't... Please see WWM re this product from Eheim...> and adding a 15 watt TMC Vecton UV sterilizer. I know it may not be possible to completely eliminate 'the crypt', but minimizing outbreaks is my goal for now...... P.S. My good friend Frank from Toronto says Hello!! (he knows you I assume?) <Ah yes. Hello to him> All the best, and thanks again! Mark <In the meanwhile... keep reading! BobF>

Ich problem, following WWM advice   3/13/07 You guys are the best resource on the web for the Hobby by far! <Thank you for the kind words.  Brandon here tonight.> Ok, I have a yellow and blue hippo tang that have developed Ich.  The yellow tang has only white spots, and the blue tang has both white and black spots. <You have more than Cryptocaryon my friend.  You also have what sounds like Paravortex. The copper treatment should kill it in the QT tank, though you may wind up having to use Formalin if this does not work.  It can live in the main system for months without hosts.  Paravortex is very common with Z. flavescens.  I would strongly recommend finding a temporary home for the Tangs once their infections have been cleared.> Following all that I've researched on the WWM forum.  This is my plan of attack.  Let me know if I go astray.  You guys are great BTW.  The web site has answered many questions just through searching the pages through your Google search tool. 1. FW dip in buffered ph and temperature adjusted , with Methylene blue as prescribed. 2. Fish came through the FW dip, stressed but otherwise ok. 3. Placed in a 20g QT tank with a dosage of this new stuff "instant ocean Lifeguard".  I used the     prescribed dosage.  It works for over a 5 day period (any opinion on this stuff.  (I chose this attack,     because I was leery of using copper on the tangs.)   Ok, that's what's been done here for now.  Now the questions. <Ok.> Will the blue residuals left in the bucket enough to be toxic to main display (125g) when doing a water change?  I have rinsed the bucket thoroughly, but still slightly stained. <This bucket is now dedicated to prophylactic dips before going into Quarantine.  I would just get another bucket.  The stains will never come out, and I will not definitively guarantee that there will be no residuals.  As a general rule, I will not use any container that has had any chemicals in it for water changes.  I like the better safe than sorry method.> I have some Coppersafe, but due to the fact that the two fish are tangs, I am hesitant to go this route unless needed.  Is there a such thing as a copper dip, and if so, would you suggest it in this case?  And is it the same dosage as prescribed on the manufacturers directions. <You will wind up using copper, and you will wind up buying a test kit.  You need to ensure that the copper levels are continuously at the recommended level.  This will go on for about two weeks.  I would not really worry that much about the Tangs in this period of time.  It is when you start to go past this point, that it becomes a concern.> I understand the QT should last at minimum, one month, will this harm the tangs being in such a small environment? <This means that there should be NO fish in the main display.  It is possible, I think that I would buy a larger tank for the time being, or after the treatment period, if they don't show signs of infection, you could ask a friend with adequate space to house them.> I plan on doing a %25 water change daily for the first 10 days.  Will this be enough.   <With the copper treatment you will have to monitor the copper levels as you do the water changes.  I would add the copper to the makeup water, as per the manufacturer's instructions.> I have seeded the filter on the qt with some bio media from my main tank and plan on throwing it away after the QT is done. <Throwing the media away is not really necessary.  If the parasites life cycle gets broken, then they die.  They do not lay dormant for infinite periods of time.  Please do keep in mind that the Turbellarians causing the Paravortex outbreaks will live on in the main display however.  As mentioned before, I would strongly encourage you to find temporary housing for the Tangs for a few months.  If this is not possible, you could try to strike a balance with cleaner organisms.  The most notable that comes to mind are shrimp of the Lysmata species.> Thanks for being there and being a great resource, I have learned a lot and have avoided many mistakes by reading you guys for hours <Thank you for the kind words.  I hope the information I just gave you helps.  Please see here for further reading on the Cryptocaryon, as well as Paravortex, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm, and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paravortexfaqs.htm.  Brandon.>

 Medicine Cabinet   11/5/06 Hello Crew; <John> Unfortunately, last night I lost a Coral Beauty Angel in quarantine.  While it's certainly not the first fish I have lost, I believe it to be the first lost due to an outright infection.  Don't get me wrong, over the years I have lost more fish than I care to think about, but, it's been due to predation by tank mates, shipping stress and the associated anxiety (the fish, not me), or what I suspect to be cyanide poisoning in the case of a Gramma melacara.  I have suffered almost no losses with corals, including a Sebae anemone which I've had for 5 or 6 years. <Well-done> Anyway, the aforementioned fish quickly developed cloudy/puffy eyes and some fin rot after getting him from the LFS, <Centropyge bispinosus are by and large not "hardy" as they "used to be" years back... cumulative stress-effects from collection, holding... lack of nutrition in transition I mostly suspect> so with some trepidation, I performed a pH adjusted freshwater bath which cleared things up nicely for about a week <Good mostly for treating symptoms... not so much for causes/effects> when I noticed symptoms started to re-appear, just before I had to work three 12 hour night shifts doncha know.  So I did a second bath, but he perished overnight (my own fault I suspect, because while I used distilled water adjusted to pH 8.2 with baking soda, I discovered too late that while letting the container come to temperature overnight before dipping, the pH drifted high.  Perhaps burned his little gills). <A common, too common problem here> My question, finally, is:  since, it seems to be a truism that trouble will strike at the most inconvenient time, what  would you keep on hand in order to treat the various maladies that can strike our captive critters? <Ho-buoy! A cursory review of my feeble memory shows a distinct lack of such a cogent, detailed list... and rationale. I do wish I could commit the time/resource to generating such a "Pathologically Speaking" series of articles... perhaps a popular-slanted short book on the mass topic of captive marine/aquatic organism "health", including this important topic... We/WWM do have a brief piece by Tim Hayes: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i4/When_things_go_wrong/Oh_no.htm that delves shallowly here...> On another topic, what are your thoughts on a Chaetodontoplus mesoleucus in a 180 reef? <A very nice choice IMO/E>   Right now the only fish are two false Percs, a yellowtail damsel, golden wrasse, and a pair of green Chromis.  Other desired additions are a hippo tang, Kole tang, Forcipiger butterfly, and a fridmani Pseudochromis. <Also good choices>   Currently corals are softies and LPS, but I plan to switch more to SPS since upgrading the tank and lighting a while back. Thanks; John <Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Medicated Food 10/23/06 Hi, <Hi> Do you have any experience with medicated food for prevention of ich on fish? <Of limited usefulness.>  In particular, Blue lagoon Premium Medicated food.  From the collective knowledge out there, I should put my fish in the QT, treat them, wait 6 weeks and then return to the main tank. <Yep> Would medicated food be able to eradicate ich by preventing ich from attaching to fish and thereby the ich dying off over a 6 week period as they the ich do not have a chance to complete their life-cycle? <Not really how it works, the Ich would have to attach to be effected by the medication within the fish.>  I am leaning toward the QT, but will need to buy a larger QT as the 10g will not hold 8 fish (two tangs, etc.) for the six week period. <Best way to go.> Thanks. NR <Chris>

Quick Cure... or quick death  8/25/06 I have a very important question. I am using Quick Cure to treat Ick . <Malachite Green and Formalin... very dangerous> I have my fish in a 10 gallon QT and the Quick Cure has been working great. The dose for Quick Cure is 1 drop per gallon for 5 days. Say I do a 100% water change on the 4th day because of high nitrites and because I wanted to move them to a new 10 gallon setup do I put 40 drops in the new tank or is that too much? <Is way too much...> Do I just put in 10? <Never more than one drop per actual gallon> Please help, I do not want the 40 drops to be to concentrated and kill the fish. Another way to put it is if I do a 50% water change on the 3rd day do I just put in 10 for that day or do I have to put in more to compensate the drops I put in for days 1 and 2? Thanks <... one drop per gallon as changed, replaced, time going by... Bob Fenner>

Re: Snowflake Moray problems   8/22/06 Hi, <Hello> Thanks for the encouragement. Is there any other treatment you could recommend to assist if it is a viral issue? At the moment, things just seem to be going from bad to worse. Thanks again for all your time. <Unfortunately, no. There are anti-virals in use for human therapies, but these are untested for fishes as far as I'm aware. Bob Fenner>

- An Invert and a Medication Question 6/25/06 - Hey Disease and Medications Experts out there! *Yana from NYC here.* <Hi, Yana.> * I have a 2 months old  26 Bow Saltwater.  * *1 Yellow Watchman Goby, 2 Damsels (Chrysiptera hemicyanea and C. parasema), 1 Ocellaris Clown (till yesterday), 1 Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Hermit Crab, 1 Turbo Snail. * <This is a lot of fish for so small a tank.> *Temperature is a little high now due to the sweltering heat (84F) but I am working on ways to repair that.* *Water parameters are close to perfect:* <Except for the temperature.> *Ammo and Nitrite - 0 ppm* *Nitrate 20 ppm* *pH 8.3* *Salinity 33* *SG: 1.023 * I want to create a little "fish pharmacy" at home for my tank - with working medicines for all kinds of problems - bacterial and fungal infections, external and internal parasites etc. Can you please briefly list the names of your first choice of medications that I shall stock up on? <Hmm... not a fan of keeping fish medicine cabinets around... many medications expire, lose their strength, etc. Better to purchase fresh ingredients when needed. Some things like copper/formalin do seem to last a good long time but these are the medications of last resort. Better at this juncture to spend any money for such ventures on a simple quarantine tank.> P.S. Please don't get the wrong impression : I am doing my homework and reading a lot - it is just that I had a clown die on me the other day because of a secondary bacterial infection (after what I believe was Ich) and I don't want for this to ever happen again! <Is this conclusion from an actual necropsy or a guess? If the latter, and even if from someone you trust, is still just a best guess and not something you can take to the bank.> I am trying to set up a QT tank for the rest of my fish ASAP (I now know I should never be without one) and send an order to Drs. Foster Smith with everything I'll need, also ASAP. No time to browse tens of threads and look on particular names of medications and poll and sum up people's opinions on different brands. <No time? I suggest you find time - time not spent now will certainly be taxed against you later.> I'd like to have this down quick and set up the QT! So, if you provide me a list of the most necessary basics that I should have at any time in my "pharmacy", this will be a highly valuable favor!! A Knightly one, I should add. Eternal gratitude, Depth <Start with simple quarantine. Find a LOCAL fish store where you can get medications as needed - even Petco has a decent selection. Cheers, J -- >

Rumor going around... fish med.s again   6/23/06 Hello! <Hi there> There is a rumor going around some of the fish message boards that starting in January 2007 over the counter medications for fish will be pulled from shelves.  The only way to get medications for fish after January 2007 will be by veterinary prescription. Do you know if this is true?   <Not so as far as I'm aware> I am hoping it is not.  None of the vets in my area (and by area I mean a 200 mile radius) will treat fish, not even Koi. Sherry <Though anything to do with the term "government" is not to be discounted as impossible, improbable or entirely illogical, this is not likely. Bob Fenner>

Time For Another Round of Treatment?    5/4/06 Hello! <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I have had several fish in quarantine now for five weeks. I diagnosed them as having Amyloodinium, based on the appearance and behavior of the fish-- pinhead sized white spots and scratching on everything in sight. <Could also be good old-fashioned Cryptocaryon, in the absence of other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, sloughing of mucus, etc. Amyloodinium kills very rapidly. Regardless, the medical approach is similar for both illnesses.> They have been treated with Cupramine (Seachem's answer to copper's down sides) for  better than three weeks at the recommended concentration. The problem I'm having is that as I observe the fish to make sure the parasites are gone, I continue to see some of the fish scratching on the rocks and sand. There are no other signs of parasites and haven't been for these last three weeks. <Ahh.. minor criticism here. I would highly recommend NOT using a substrate in a "hospital" tank. In addition to "sucking up" medications (making it tough to maintain a proper therapeutic dose), substrates provide refuge for the causative protozoa to anchor in during their free-swimming stage. This is a bit over-simplified, but you get the idea. Next time, go completely bare bottom in a treatment tank.> Everyone is apparently healthy except for the scratching. Do you have any ideas as to what's happening here. I'm hesitant to put fish back in the display tank. Thanks! Scott <I agree, Scott. At this point, I'd back off on the treatment for a while, as continuous exposure to meds can be tough on the fishes. After about a week off meds, I'd consider embarking on another round of treatment if symptoms persist. Regular water changes will ensure a healthy environment, and frequent feeding will help the fishes maintain the energy they need to get better. Continue close observation, and monitor dosage carefully. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Medications...Learn How To Use Them - 12/05/05 Hi all, <<Hello>> I have been having some problems with water tests and was wondering if I could get your opinion on this? <<Sure thing...shoot.>> This is on a 600 gallon bank in my store with a modified biofilter (baskets with DLS and poly-fiber wound tightly together). It all started after I treated with Kanamycin sulphate, <<The antibiotic wiped out your bio-filter.>> I was having some problems with TB and some fungal infections, under the recommendation from National Phish Pharmaceuticals I treated with the Kanamycin. <<Mmm...without advising you what it would do to your filter system? Have you researched/know what affect this has on your system?>> I was very close on total volume of water treated with the medication, after I treated I have been getting very high (like off the chart) readings in nitrite and nitrate the nitrite chart goes from 0 to 5.0 and it is way higher than 5.0 I know these are false (to some degree) because the fish are still alive they are not gasping for air at the surface or anything, the nitrate readings go from 0 to 160 and they are also off the charts. I have done a couple of water changes (15-20%) but it does nothing to help the readings, all in all the fish seem fine. I have lost a few but nothing outside of the normal. <<Still, likely attributable to the lack of an active bio-filter after being nuked with the Kanamycin sulphate.>> I guess one more piece of the puzzle is that I have been adding copper to the system as well the copper is also from NFP, <<Yikes!! Double whammy!>> I talked with Brian over there (at NFP) and he said the copper could be giving a false test reading, <No... RMF> problem is I never had the readings before the Kanamycin dose and have used it (Kanamycin) before with no readings that were so high, I am concerned because I have a good size order of fish coming in on Monday and am a little nervous about putting them in my system.... Suggestions? <<Faulty test kits/false readings aside, you can't ignore the fact that using both an antibiotic AND copper have wiped out the bacteria in your bio-filter. It would be best to do your treatments in a smaller hospital system where it would be easier to do frequent water changes to handle the accumulations waste products in the absence of an adequate bio-filter. But the damage is done...I would think your priority at this point would be to filter out the Kanamycin/copper (carbon & Poly-filter) and get the bio-filter reestablished as quickly as possible (transfer some filter material from an "untreated" system if possible).>> Thanks as always. <<Regards, EricR>>

Deaths in tank, treatment suggestions  Hi there, Thank you for all your help in the hobby! I am very much need your help today! <Crewmember Lorenzo with you today.> I have a 200 gal tank. Over the last 2 months I've had 6 fish die, generally the deaths seemed to be 2 weeks apart, and the fish showed no symptoms other than rapid breathing and being a bit less active than normal.  It started with a Chromis and a Yellow Tang dying. At that point there were some white specks on some fish, so I did treat with Cupramine and things seemed to clear up.  <I'm assuming you went through the full mfg'ers protocol for treatment time and testing. AND you are pretty sure these fish had ich.> Then another Chromis and then a Golden Butterfly died. So, clearly something was still going on. I did get a cleaner wrasse, but it did not live more than a week. <At WWM we always recommend leaving these obligate cleaners in the ocean. Neon Gobies are a good alternative, but as they are not themselves immune, should not be added to a tank with an ongoing outbreak/infection.> Over the last week, I lost a royal Gramma, and my Emperor Angel had some spots on him, but it looked like pale freckles, not the standard whitish look of ick or the dusting of some parasites. <May have just been stress-coloration, hard to say without a photo.> I started treating with Cupramine on 11/28. The Emperor looks much better, but since then I lost another fish (my favorite majestic angel..),  <so sorry!>  and many of the remaining fish are showing signs of rapid breathing and a bit of erratic behavior. Also, my snowflake eel has now become unusually inactive. The fish most concerning at this point are a large Queen Angel, a Bristletooth tang, Powder blue tang, Royal Gramma, Flame Angel and Long Nose Butterfly.  <WOW this tank is overstocked, especially before the sad losses.> The Cupramine is at .5 ppm (according to the directions), but on your site saw some suggestions for the copper to be higher than that.  <Best follow the mfg'ers directions to a 'T'.> Salinity is at 1.0185, temp at 80. Ph, Ammonia, and Nitrites are fine.  <"Fine" means... 8.2-8.4 pH, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates, I hope...> I usually run a UV sterilizer and protein skimmer, but these are turned off now due to the Cupramine. <Turn the skimmer back on. It is an important source of dissolved oxygen and your livestock need it badly right now. It will scarcely reduce the copper, which you should be testing and re-dosing regularly anyway.> Due to the setup of the tank I must treat in the tank. There are no inverts. <And there may never be. But that is your choice, and probably quite defensible in the situation.> I have some PraziPro - I understand this is compatible with the Cupramine. <I'm not familiar with this med. Generally, it's a bad idea to make cocktails.> I also have some ParaGuard. Do you know that can be used with the Cupramine? <Definitely NOT. See the Seachem Cupramine FAQ: http://www.seachem.com/support/FAQs/Cupramine_faq.html > I really do not want to lose any more fish! I am concerned that they are going to continue to die one by one. Would you suggest I add the PraziPro or ParaGuard? Or do something else entirely? The main symptom is the rapid breathing for a few days and then death. Any advice of what I can do now to minimize the tank going down would be appreciated!  <Rinse out and turn on the skimmer right away. Do a large water change and re-dose, if your ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels are not all ZERO. Be sure to carefully quarantine all new livestock in the future!> Thank you, Val <Best of luck, Zo>

Staying The Course With Disease Treatment  12/1/05 Bob & Crew, <Scott F. here today!> Thank you for your site, it is the only addiction that my wife doesn't seem to mind! <Glad to hear that!> I have a 135 g reef tank with a 75 g sump. It was set up in January '05 and things had been going very well. I bought an Achilles Tang about 2 months ago and following the advice on your site, I quarantined him for over a month. During the quarantine period, he developed a case of ich, which was quickly cured by the use of Coppersafe. After resetting the QT clock and waiting 4 weeks, he was introduced into the main tank. Just recently he developed another case of ich, so I am assuming his tank mates were carrying the parasite.  <Possible. Hard to be sure with Tangs, as they are pretty susceptible to this malady.> My existing fish were not QT'd, but showed no sign of infection for 6 months. I have had it with ich! I tore down my entire tank (12 hours I'll never get back) and removed every fish. My fish included the Achilles, 2 Convict Blennies (Eel Gobies?), 1 Longfin Fairy Wrasse, 1 Blue-Spotted Watchman Goby, and a Mandarin.  Every fish except for the Mandarin went into my 35 g QT tank that has been up and running for over a month, plus I threw in some sponges that were in the sump for just such an occurrence. The Achilles was in bad shape, so I had to add Coppersafe immediately. The Mandarin is set up in a 2.5 g tank with some live rock that is crawling with pods and Mysid shrimp. The water in the 2.5 g was from my main tank. <Good setup for this fish.> I know the Mandarin will crush the contents of the tank in short order, but it is better than nothing in my opinion. <Agreed.> Question: I have read that it is a good idea to use your display tank water to perform daily water changes on the QT. If I am assuming that the display has ich (in the substrate, rocks, etc) I think this would be a bad idea in my particular situation. Would that be correct? <Yes, you may be introducing some possible parasites into the treatment tank, but if you are treating with medication in the QT, you're basically zapping the protozoa when they get in there. If you are using copper, test regularly to assure that you are maintaining a proper therapeutic dosage. My thinking on the water is that the water from the display tank is what the fishes are "used to", and will be one less source of stress for already challenged fishes.> If so, how long should the tank run fallow before I can confidently use the display tank water in the QT? I would appreciate you err on the side of caution! :) I can wait. <I'd go at least a month; two if you can handle it!> Question: How long can the mandarin go without live food? Should I buy some brine shrimp to hold him over? <Well, live or otherwise- the fish requires a constant supply of food. In a small tank, you can use the opportunity to wean him over to frozen foods. I would not use brine shrimp. as it provides little in the way of nutritional value. Mysis is far better, IMO.> Also, there is no copper in the 2.5 g... does there need to be in order to ensure that the mandarin is not a host? <I would rather isolate the fish like you are doing, and only treat if symptoms manifest.> Last Question: I have read that some fish, in particular Tangs, are sensitive to copper. <Entirely true. Tangs have digestive fauna that can be damaged after prolonged exposure to copper.> The Achilles is looking much better after 2 days in the coppered up water. How long should the treatment last? (1 capful of CopperSafe per 4 gallons of water)  <Follow the manufacturer's suggested treatment protocol. No more. No less.> Thank you once again for your time, it is very much appreciated. BJ Wincott Niagara Falls, Ontario <My pleasure, BJ! Your patience is inspiring! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> 

Ethics of the Hobby: Sick Fish - To Treat or Not To  11/10/05 Good Morning, I am battling through the flu right now so I've had a little time to think. <Sorry to hear you are not feeling well. Hope you are feeling well soon.>  I've recently purchased a clownfish (tank raised) and it broke out with ich in the QT. Did a freshwater Meth Blue bath for 15 minutes and that fish looked very genki (healthy) before adding it to the QT. Now, here in Japan, Copper Sulfate is almost $30 for a little bottle and the test kit is around $25.  <<That sound was my jaw hitting the floor.  MH>> Maybe you see where I'm going with this since I paid $20 for the fish. My cohorts in the hobby here are giving me a hard time and suggest just starting fresh. My feelings are it's a pet just like a cat or dog. Even if it were free, it would be the right thing to treat it as necessary. My wallet says I'm an idiot, but I feel like it's what has to be done. (FWIW, I bought the copper and test kit...crossing fingers) Dana <Sorry to hear the med and test kit are so expensive over there. If the fish tolerated the FW dip well you could continue with those daily for 5 to 7 out of 7 days in addition to hyposalinity in your Q tank avoiding using the med and test and possibly being able to return it. Here is the info on hyposalinity http://petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/hyposalinity.html. This hobby can be hard on the wallet at times. I do think you made the right decision. Treating the fish is what I would have done. HTH, Leslie>   <<Hyposalinity would really be the way to go in this situation.  The dips may prove ineffective alone.  Also, do search for work by Terry Bartelme and Steven Pro in particular, they've done a good deal of research into this area.  Marina>>

Confusion about copper, ignorance costs 10/18/05 Hey guys, since I can't find an exact answer after searching the forums I'm emailing you. I know when you use copper it doesn't kill the parasites hanging in the tank but only prevents them from going onto the fish from a thickened mucous layer. <Uh, no> Does the same go for formalin and malachite green, or do they kill the parasites (and eggs) through out the tank AND on the fish? <Both, all kill intermediate forms while they are active, seeking hosts... not while on the hosts generally or in encysted "resting" stages> My B/F's appetite seems to be suppressed after treating with formalin, is this normal?  <Oh yes... toxic to the max.> He was eating pretty good before I put the formalin in, now he's barely eating. He has thread like feces also, should I treat for a bacterial infection?  <.....> And which med is best for that? <...> Thanks so much <Read... on WWM, elsewhere re... stop poisoning your livestock until you know what you're doing. Bob Fenner>

Mixing Maracide and formalin  8/16/05 Hello WWM crew: <Danielle> I received two fish (one flame angel & one blue tang) from an online vendor on Tuesday (8/9).  I found the flame angel dead; I am pretty sure through researching on WWM and various books (Conscientious Marine is GREAT!) that it was Brooklynella. <Unlikely...> I only had Maracide (malachite green) on hand so I dosed the quarantine tank with that (I'm SO happy I quarantine) this afternoon.  I just went and got some formalin.  My question is should I discontinue the Maracide and dose with the formalin instead? <I would not>   If so, should I wait a day (since it was just treated with the Maracide) or do a water change before adding the formalin to the quarantine? Thanks for all your help- Danielle <I would resist any such "treatments" for now... too likely the added stress will kill the tang... I would just leave it in quarantine, with near natural seawater quality... Bob Fenner>

One gill working - PraziPro and Formalin 8/12/05 Hi There, <Hello> Last Saturday I added a large (6") and gorgeous Queen Angel that was new at the LFS to my previously stable 200 gal tank. No quarantine, bad judgment I know.. <...> Early on the Queen "shook/shimmied" a lot (this was not the case in the store.), which immediately had me worried. Today, 5 days later, I have noticed that one of the Queens gills is clamped shut.  In addition, my powder blue tang has been acting erratic, breathing fast and being skittish. <Not good> There is some minor scratching going on amongst the other fish, but nothing severe or constant to cause major alarm.  All fish are eating well, the queen is eating better each day.  There doesn't appear to be any "dusting" or coating on the fish.  The Queen does have a few raised scales on each side, but it is not severe.   I don't recall these raised scales being there earlier in the week.   My understanding is that this could be gill flukes or Oodinium <Or none of the above...> Today I medicated with PraziPro, thinking it was probably the gill flukes. <I would hold off...> After researching on your site, it sounds like it should go with Formalin (instead or in addition?). <No... very toxic> I did read how it is safe to use copper and PraziPro at the same time.  Does the same hold true for Cupramine? <Yes> More importantly, is it safe to also use Formalin with PraziPro? <I would, again, not "use" formalin... in the sense of either placing it in your main system, or running the present fishes through an immersion bath with this biocide> I do not have much experience with Formalin and have been wary of it. <You should be... this is a material used for embalming...> Unfortunately catching and removing the fish from the tank is extremely difficult for me, so although I know it is not the best, I will be medicating in the main tank. What would be your suggestion at this point? <Ahhh! Finally, to the heart of the matter... I would add (more) purposeful cleaner organisms (detailed on WWM) and simply observe your livestock for now> FYI, other fish in the tank include: snowflake eel, majestic angel, flame angel, Naso tang, powder blue tang, hippo tang, yellow tang, Heniochus butterfly, longnose butterfly, golden butterfly, pink tail trigger, dog face puffer, Tiera batfish, Coris wrasse, 2 royal grammas, and 4 blue Chromis.  No Live rock/crustaceans/live corals. <This is way too much fish life for the long haul in a two hundred gallon system... lots of induced stress amongst the angels...> I do have a UV sterilizer and protein skimmer that I have disabled after adding the PraziPro, also removed charcoal as suggested. <I would turn these back on, return the carbon...> Thank you for your advice!   I'd appreciate your help as soon as possible to minimize the damage. Thank You!! Val <Ah, this last is telling... as in the oath of doctors, "do no harm", you are on the verge of actually doing more damage... Take a very conservative stance here... read, observe... avoid toxic chemical additions. Bob Fenner>

Medications I'm sorry to bother you with this question, I've searched the site for awhile and couldn't find a answer. I had a dwarf flame angel, a small Koran angel and a small Hawkfish in a 30 gallon quarantine tank. Is it possible for the 2 angels in a quarantine tank to get a disease, and not the hawk? The two angels eyes became very cloudy. I was treating the tank with Maracyn 2, MarOxy and copper safe. Both angel's eye's seemed to just waste away leaving what seemed to be two blind angels. After removing the two, the Hawkfish seems fine. It has been 4 days since taking out the angels. I've read some things about angel disease. Is this what happened??  <Angels can be a little sensitive to copper. Did you monitor your copper level with a test kit? The recommended level would be 0.15ppm. Another problem is too many medications in the tank at one time. Determine the disease and treat for that disease only. James (Salty Dog)> 

The use of Vertaid Hi guys, <Ash> Thanks for the many helpful FAQs you have on the site and while I found a couple of them concerning Vertaid I would like some clarification. <Quinine hydrochloride and Malachite green> I have nine fishes that are all fine except my emperor angel, in that it seems to have white spot or marine velvet and the others have no suspicious markings. I'm not certain it has a disease because the spots don't seem pronounced as if parasites on the body but there are many greyish white spots mostly over the top part of the fish and a few on it's pectoral fins. It's eating normally and not displaying any other symptoms like scratching etc. Anyway to my query which is, should I go ahead and use the Vertaid my LFS guy assured me would work in conjunction with tri-sulfa tablets just to be sure? The Vertaid is to get the parasites to drop from the fish and the tri-sulfa tablets are to kill it after that says the LFS guy. I'd prefer to do a hyposalinity treatment but it would be a problem setting up a QT suitable for all fish. I read on another query about Vertaid one of you advised just treating the fish with spots in a QT but everywhere else I've read it says ALL fish must be treated. <If all supposedly affected, yes> The LFS guy assured me it was safe to use in a reef system <Mmm, no... Please read on WWM, elsewhere re Malachite Green> and the fish should be fine but I am very cautious in adding any meds to the show tank. <You are wise here> Sorry for the long question. I hope you can help. Regards,          Ashley Cooper. <Hard to guess here... I would not add anything to your/my main tank however... Though the system may well be parasitized itself... You have enough at stake to set-up, utilize separate quarters, carefully observe your livestock... What you describe may not be external, treatable with the means suggested... I urge caution, careful observation... with the fish livestock separated/leaving the main tank fallow, absent of fish life. Bob Fenner>

Blue Hippo Tang and Porcupine Puffer Mike, thanks for the advice. I have all my fish in a 10gal QT. Is this going to be a lot of stress on the fish that are in such a small tank for 6 to 8 wks? And when should I do a water change in the QT with medication. And if I do water change do I use the water from the main tank or create a batch of saltwater? Thanks! Mark <Mark, We never discussed the size of the fish.  If both fish are 2 inches or less then for 6-8 weeks in a ten gallon will be fine.  If they are larger they will need a larger tank.  The water change should be done when the ammonia starts so spike on you, and every time it spikes there after.  I would always use the water from the main tank.  But since the main tank has the ICH in it make a fresh batch.  When quarantining the fish in the future, use the water from the main display tank.  Good Luck. MikeB.>

Treating sick fish Bob, Sorry to trouble you. I'm sure you get plenty of e-mails from people with ailing fish. I have just brought back from Japan a 9" St. Paul's Rocks specimen.  The fish in Japan was a somewhat hardy eater - I would say aggressive, but somewhat hardy. Since bringing it from Japan, the fish has stopped eating.  The fish has not eaten for 6 days (I know not a big deal) but has the following symptoms: 1. Stopped feeding 2. Lethargic - Hides in rocks 90% of the time.  Doesn't sit, remains buoyant 3. Open mouth breathing (more open than usual), coupled with deeper breathing - I wouldn't say it's very rapid 4. Lighter overall color 5. Some minor erosion on caudal and pectoral fins - very minor 6. Cleaner wrasse spends considerable time cleaning him - I've noticed greyer gills, less red 7. No visible spots 8. No darting, flashing or scratching on rocks 9. Clear eyes - pupils a little dilated What do you think - bacterial gill disease?  Please help! << Well although I don't know what the problem is, I think the treatment is standard.  I would put the fish in a hospital tank and start treating with antibiotics.  Maybe use some copper or formalin as well.  I'd also be adding garlic to the food. >> Michael Gonzales <<  Blundell  >>

Treating sick marine fish Thank you Blundell, really appreciate so much of the info you shared. I have couple more questions that appreciate if you can answer me, as below : 1. I have just completed the copper treatment in my FOWLR tank, the copper level is still left at 0.5mg concentration. will it be harmful to my fishes if I maintain the copper level at this level ? or shall I change the water to reduce the copper concentration ? << Well in the display tank I wouldn't want any copper.  In the hospital tank that is fine. >> 2. I don't have a quarantine tank, but I plan to use a bucket(5 gal) and pump in some water from my main tank and placed with some live rocks and a air pump. Can this work ? << Yep, best to have it running for a while so that it can cycle as well. >> 3. I strongly feel that my purple tang is having fungus infection. I plan to apply some Melafix based on above quarantine method (no. 2). Can Melafix cure fungus infection ? or shall I apply Coppermine from Seachem is more effective for fungus treatment ? << That I can't help you with.  I'd say read the label. >> Hope to hear from you ASAP. Really appreciate your kind support. Best rgds, Pujieh Ooi <<  Blundell  >>

Lessons Learned I must apologize in advance for asking so many questions, I've found good advice hard to come by. I am very appreciative for any help you can offer. <No apologies needed...We're glad to be here! Scott F. at your service!> I have a 215g FOWLR system with about 215# of LR, 120# of LS, a Berlin sump, Sealife-250 skimmer,  Pro Clear Aquatic 150 skimmer and I'm not sure of the rating of the Gen-X pump. <I like the fact that you have two skimmers! A neat concept.> It has been set up for about a year. Just after purchasing a large green moray I noticed that I had ich. LFS recommended copper and after much hesitation I used it. The copper killed the ich but not too long after I started having very bad water quality problems (PH 7.9, ammonia 0.3 and nitrite 0.8). Poly Filter would work for a while but it got progressively worse and I started losing fish. <Well, you've just learned the valuable lesson about not treating disease in your display tank!> I tested water I was getting from a closer LFS and found it had nitrite 0.8, I don't know how long that was happening because I failed to test it after the first time I purchased it. <Another valuable lesson you've learned! Test regularly!> I added the PC 150 skimmer and increased water changes, reduced feeding and started dosing Cycle. My ammonia has been 0 for a while now (PH back to about 8.1, alkalinity 2.5 mEq/l) but my nitrite remained high (0.3-0.8) for at least a month and I lost most of  my fish. (I have a Dogface Puffer, Panther Grouper, Clown Grouper, and Black Volitans Lionfish left) My temp was extremely high (85-90F) but has since come down (81F), I am going to make a chiller before next summer. <A lot of factors could have contributed to the fish deaths...Of course, "collateral damage" from the medication, as well as the high temperatures, probably played a big role...> LFS was not sure why nitrite wasn't going down and said they needed to see my system to be able to tell what was going on. They have blown me off several times so now I have no desire to give them my business and consequently have no source to purchase water. <I think that you'll be better off (both economically and in terms of "quality control") to invest in an RO/DI unit and mix your own water!> I added a powerhead to the back of the LR and noticed that my nitrite went to nearly 0 and my nitrates went from about 20 to off the chart (>160, 10% water change doesn't dent it). If I remove the powerhead nitrite comes back to about 0.1 (I'm using a Tropic Marin nitrite test). Could this be denitrification in anaerobic zones producing nitrite? <Could be...Sounds like somehow the powerhead is stirring things up (like maybe the sandbed?) and disrupting some of the natural denitrification processes occurring down there.> Is there anything else I can do to eliminate the nitrite? <Nitrate can be reduced successfully with a well managed deep sand bed, liberal use of chemical filtration media (like carbon and/or Poly Filter), aggressive, frequent water changes with quality source water, growth and harvest of macroalgae (like Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria), careful feeding, reduced bioload, and just plain good husbandry techniques! Do research some of the ideas that I've mentioned here...These are a few ideas to get you started>> Is there anything else I can do to reduce nitrate in the short term other than water changes? <See above...> My fish are eating better now (although I don't feed them as much) but I'm still very concerned about the water quality. <Keeping working on it...It will definitely improve with your continued attention to detail.> I've since read TCMA and decided to try making my own water by aerating tap as suggested. I just purchased a Jungle chlorine/chloramine test and tested the water straight from the tap and it read nothing. Local water dept report says they add chloramine and tests at 3.1ppm (range 0.5-4.2). Can I blindly trust that it will be gone in a week or is there a better test? <Not one that I'm aware of. Again, it would be best to invest in an RO/DI unit to really knock out the nasty stuff!> Other parameters of the tap from my tests are: Nitrate 10, ammonia 1-2, nitrite 0.3, copper 0. <Seems fairly typical for many local water supplies...Pretreatment (RO/DI, as mentioned above) is the way to go, IMO> I have lots of particulate in my tank and I was considering adding a canister filter for part time or possibly continual use. Would this be the way to go? <They can be a good assist, but all mechanical filtration media must be cleaned or changed very frequently, or you will end up accumulating detritus, which can decompose and further contribute to decreased water quality!> Can these be added to the sump (i.e. pull water from the first sump chamber and return it to the middle or last)? I didn't really want to add more tubes to the inside of the tank and I don't really have much room behind it. <Sure, they can be placed so that the intake and output go to the sump.> I currently have a sponge and poly fiber or filter in between the second and third chambers. If the canister is a good idea what kind would you recommend? <Eheim are the "world standard" for many years, but there are other great units out there. We're going to run an article on canister filters by Steve Pro in the next "Conscientious Aquarist" online magazine here on the WWM site; hopefully, it well help you in your selection!> I haven't seen any rated for a tank my size.   <Check some of the popular e-tailers...There are canister systems for large tanks.> Once again, sorry for the length. I've been trying to read as much as I can as I've found experience to be a painful and costly teacher. <Unfortunately...But the lessons learned through experience are not soon forgotten!> I set up a quarantine tank and am trying to force myself to be patient. Thanks for the help. Tom <My pleasure, Tom. Keep up the good work. Regards, Scott F> Treating fish disease Hi, Thank you for having such a great site!  I could read all the Q&A's for hours.   I have a 29 gallon aquarium with live rock and live sand.  It has been running for over 3 years with a yellow tang, a regal tang, and a clown fish. << Sounds like my tank. >> I have never had any disease outbreaks in my tank and have good water quality.   About 3 weeks ago I added a mandarin goby that was given to me from another tank I never quarantined him because I read that they were not very susceptible to disease.  7 days ago, for the first time,  decided to introduce live brine to give the mandarin a little food boost.  I rinsed the brine in fresh water.  A few days later I noticed black spots on my regal tang. << Hmmm, probably not the best idea to add a mandarin, but maybe not the cause of the disease. >> I did a fresh water dip every other day for 5 minutes for two dips and did a 50% water change.   The black spots are gone, but now my regal tang appears to have white spots on his body. Non of the fish are flashing or rubbing the rocks. << I would quickly go with garlic additions to food. >> They are acting healthy and eating well.  The yellow tang had some fogging on the pectoral fins, but after a fresh water dip it went away.  Now it appears my regal tang has white spots (not sure it is ick, but too large for Oodinium). My yellow tang appears to be fine. My questions are this: -Could the white spots be an infection from the black spot? << More like the fish was stressed from the black spots and was more susceptible to the white spots. >> -Could the brine have introduced both black spot and ick into system and could they have shown up so quickly in my system? << Yes that could have been the source of problems. >> -I am planning on treating my tangs in a quarantine tank.  Should I remove all my fish including the clown and the mandarin and Quarantine them as well even though they show no signs of disease? << Ooh, tough question.  Here I say no.  But that may not be what others would say. >> -It seems like it would  be even more stressful on my tangs to quarantine them in even smaller system for longer than a couple of weeks seeing as my regal is about 6inches long and already crowded in my 29. << Indeed, big fish out of place in that tank. >> -Am I asking for disaster if I treat my tangs and then put them back into the main tank after a couple of weeks? << Well no, eventually you will have to. >> -Will my mandarin eat Ick and black spot? << No, finicky eater. >> _If I put a cleaner goby or cleaner shrimp in my main tank would that help eliminate the problem in the tank while my fish are in quarantine for a couple of weeks? << Yes, a cleaner shrimp or goby may help. >> -would a cleaner shrimp or goby compete with my mandarin for food (copepods)? << A little. >> -I have both CopperSafe as well as Organi-cure (1.25% copper and formaldehyde 17%).  Which would be a better option for quarantine considering. << I'd say the formaldehyde. >> Thank you, Dawn   <<  Blundell  >>

Medicate With Caution! (A WWM Reader Shares His Experience) Hi Bob.  You are tops. I have learned more from you and your group here in a day than the months I've been addicted to this new hobby.  <Scott F. in for Bob today! We feel the same way about our leader! Glad to be here for you.> Found you as I searched frantically to find out why my Tang quit eating. Thought my ich days were behind me due to this great long-lived copper treatment.  Thought I could just toss it in, and it would maintain a nice copper level which would prevent the ich from ever bothering my little darlings again.  WRONG!  I just lost a wonderful Tang to septicemia.  I found out too late from you that the antibiotic treatments destroy intestinal fauna in these great little creatures over time. <As does long-term copper exposure, by the way> I really am angry that a word of caution is not put on the label where herbivores are concerned.  Little did I realize, until searching through your data, that this was to be a deadly combination.  <Yep> Please, another word of caution to all and perhaps some of your wisdom to those who may not know of this deadly combination.  Many thanks, Richard <Well stated, Richard. Although copper and other medications are very effective against many of the diseases that we face in the hobby, it's important to look at the potential interaction problems with your animals. Copper can be harmful to many fishes if not monitored religiously for concentration. It is easy to overdo it, especially with tangs and Centropyge angelfishes. This is all the more reason to ALWAYS treat fishes in a separate "hospital" tank for control of the dosage and ease of care. Do your homework before treating your fishes. It will save you a lot of heartache, and will undoubtedly save your fish's lives! Regards, Scott F>

To Treat Or Not To Treat (And WHAT Is He Treating)? Hello. <Hi there! Scott F. at your service today!> After reviewing as many questions regarding Marine Ich on your site as I could in a couple of hours, I still could not find the definitive answer to my question; not unusual given the almost infinite number of combinations you guys must try to address. <Yep- every situation is different, so it can be hard to generalize at times...> Here is my situation: Lightly stocked 1-year old 160-gallon with a few SPS and LPS on 150 pounds of live rock. One 6" Sailfin Tang, one 3" Copperband, five 1.5-2" Blue-green Chromis. SG 1.025, pH 8.1, 79*F all very stable. <Great!> Copperband after quarantine is recent addition, all others in the display since first cycling. Sailfin is flashing, but only rarely. Has abrasion on its side just aft of Pec from recent scrape. Also has a diffuse, translucent white area on tail about 4mm dia. but no distinct salt grain-like spot. Otherwise, all fish are doing well, eating and behaving as fish do except for the occasional Tourette's episode by the Sailfin. Is this enough to go on to conclude that Ich is at work? <Well, it's hard to say without a picture, but I am inclined to think that it may be something else. If you are looking at Marine Ich, you'd see distinct "grains" on the fish's skin, or-in the case of the more virulent Amyloodinium- areas of distinct discoloration, inactivity, lack of appetite, labored breathing, and excessive amounts of mucus being sloughed off by the fish. What you are seeing may be some sort of a response to a recent injury, or maybe (and probably less likely) some sort of fungal malady.> Would I be too hasty if I shipped everybody off to a hospital tank? Considering the mix of fish, what is the best treatment regimen? <Well, in the absence of more symptoms that are consistent with parasitic illnesses, I'd refrain from rushing everyone into treatment. If the fish is eating, and otherwise looks okay- and if the rest of the inhabitants seem otherwise unaffected, I'd continue very careful observation of the fish, and take action only as needed. If it turns out to be ich or another contagious parasitic disease, then I would take immediate and aggressive action (as we outline on the site) to treat the fish.> Copper on the Butterfly? Thanks, George. <Copper is generally an acceptable treatment for butterflies, but I would avoid it with the tang if a formalin-based treatment is available. Again- see if treatment is necessary before jumping in to this process. Steady as she goes! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Parasitic Disease: Tough Treatment Choices Well, unfortunately, the passer didn't survive through Thursday night...  Not sure if it was Amyloodinium or Brooklynellosis, but it was pretty fast...less than 2 days from first sign of any symptoms to death. I suppose I should have done the freshwater dip to try to verify which parasite it was. Might have made a small difference... Happened so fast... <Sorry to hear that...Scott F. following up for Marina today> My concern now is the Rainfordi...extreme sensitivity to copper and other meds...Do I just wait and see, let nature take it's course?  (can you see me cringe?)  Or is there another course of action for these little fishes?  I can find so little written on treatment, that I'm stumped...the disease/parasite might kill them, but the medication will kill them too. Thanks. <Well, you could use a medication containing Formalin. The fish may have difficulties with it as well, but it may be worth the shot if it is very sick. Marina's treatment advice was right on. Unfortunately, at this point, you may be compelled to use a medication to save the fish's life. I suppose if I had to weigh the risk of losing the fish to an aggressive disease or possibly killing it with treatment, I'd rather go down "with guns blazing", as they say, and try to intervene. Knowing the potential risks, you'll be going in with your eyes wide open. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Too Much Rid-Ich (3/31/04) Guys, <Steve Allen tonight>   After having lost a yellow tang and a flame angel to ich in early Jan, I had my tank fallow with only 6 shrimp and one crab for 10 weeks. <Smart> Last week, I purchased a Centropyge argi and a pair of fire Dartfish and QT'd them. Unfortunately they came down with ich. <In QT I surmise. Hoe long after you brought them home? Any reason to believe there was already ich in the QT?> Calculating that my 20 gallon QT tank had about 18 gallons of water, I dosed it with 9ml of Rid-Ich. Within 45 minutes all three fish were on the bottom breathing heavily. <Hmm. not familiar with the recommended dose here as I do not use this product. Their reaction suggest toxicity or hypoxia.> I immediately put them in my 72G tank at which point they probably went in to shock the temp and salinity were the same, but the QT probably had a lower ph. The main tank is more like 8.0. All three perished within minutes! <So sad indeed. I suspect the Rid-Ich killed them not the pH unless there was a big difference. A couple of tenths would not do this.> I feel like crap!   Anyway, here are the questions... a) Where and how did I screw up!? <Nowhere from what I can tell. The fish probably already had ich, unless you had recently had ich-infested fish in the QT.> b) Even though the 72G only had the fish in them for 1 hour or so, I would need to let it run fallow again right? <You have felt the pain of fish death now. Any reasonable thing to prevent this is good, yes? In your shoes, I'd take no chances and would wait 4-6 weeks to add fish to the display, even though the risk may be low. In the meantime, you can drain, clean & cycle your QT again and put a new fish in it in a few weeks.> BTW, the QT also contained a hermit crab that survived and is in the72G at present. I also had about 10lb of live rock that I transferred over from the QT to the 72G...seemed like the only way to save it at that time? Should I have written off the rock? <I don't quite understand here. When did you move the rock to the QT? Had you treated the rock-containing QT with something before? You should be able to leave all rock in a display tank for the duration of the fallow period. I recommend against having any rock or sand in a QT. Use PVC fittings for hiding places.>   As always, I'm grateful for your advice! <Hope it helps> Narayan   PS. Can you suggest a few non-aggressive fish that are very disease resistant? I only intend to have motile inverts... <Tangs tend to be less resistant. Take a look at Fairy or Flasher Wrasse. The Centropyge angels are nice and not really any less resistant than average. Dart- and Firefishes are good choices if there are no aggressive tankmates (especially Pseudochromis). I am also particularly fond of the Royal Gramma.>

Skimming out the Treatment? Dear WWC <Ryan with you> I have a 210 with two tidepool II on it and I just got my Berlin skimmer back from red sea and it is working great (real dry foam). My question is this: I am treating the tank with Maroxy for a fungus problem and I am in my 5 th day. will the skimmer pull the medicine out of the water? I called Virbac the manufacture and they said they didn't think it would. the dry scum I am getting is really white almost a paste! I have never seen sludge like this so I am wondering if this is the Maroxy? <Could be> The fungus on the fish looks like it is going away but is not gone yet. I plan to do my weekly 10% water change today and continue the medicine Monday.  It would be great to get you insight on this because Maroxy doses for a 210 are not cheap!! <I would stop skimming until the procedure is complete, then start skimming again in conjunction with a water change and addition of carbon, as well as a pad of Poly-Filter.  Good luck! Ryan> Thank Guys Kirt

Death Of A Clown! Hi Guys, I'm new to the hobby of fish keeping, but firstly let me commend you on your bloody good website, I've searched loads across the net and haven't found one that's better. <Thanks so much for the compliments! It's our pleasure to bring it to you! Scott F. with you today!> Anyway, I had a clownfish die on me yesterday and I've been trying to find out the exact cause.  I have a 30 gallon tank which had been running for about a month (before I put any fish in) with just rocks (dead), gravel, and a couple of fake plants in it.  The pump I use runs at 600 l/h and I also have a protein skimmer SeaClone (bad choice), the protein skimmer I only run for 6 hours a day as I heard they can slow down the cycling process of the tank. <Well, that's open for debate, but I think that you should either run it 24/7 or not at all during the cycling process...> Two and a half weeks ago, I added 2 false percula clowns and 3 small hermit crabs...everything was going fine so a week on I added another 2 false perculas and another 3 small hermits.  A few days ago I noticed one of my clowns was looking a little ill, so I did a water test and all the levels were fine (ammonia and nitrite zero), plus the temp (80f) and salinity (1.022) had remained fairly constant throughout.  I thought my fish must have developed fin rot as he was loosing colour around the fins and they were looking a bit feathery.  So I decided to used this fin rot medication called Melafix, the instructions said to remove any activated carbon from your filter while medicating so I took out the black sponge and applied the medication to the tank accordingly. <Uh- Oh- that's kind of problematic...We advocate that you NEVER treat in the display tank, for many reasons, not the least of which is the potential for medication to interfere with the biological filtration...> Anyway, a day later the ill looking  clownfish had died and the other three were slowly swimming around at the surface as if starved of oxygen.  I did some more water tests and found the ammonia to be extremely high, so I immediately did a 10% water change, put the carbon sponge back in, ceased medication and permanently switched on the protein skimmer to oxygenate the water. <Good emergency reactions on your part!> Two of the other clowns are now looking fine, but the third one looks as though he might go the same way as his former tankmate. Do you have any idea what the problem might be, I'm guessing it was the high ammonia that killed one of the clowns, but why would the levels suddenly shoot up like that, could it be because the tank hasn't cycled properly? Or because I removed the carbon sponge? Or even due to the medication? <Well, I'd say that it's either due to an incompletely cycled tank or interruption of the biological filtration, as discussed above. Or, the stock that you purchased could have been sick to begin with. We always push for strict quarantine of all new arrivals for at least three weeks. It's an excellent practice to get into, and it can prevent many potential disasters.> I also checked to see if any of the hermits had crawled away somewhere and died but they're all fine. <That's good to hear!> Sorry the question is so long winded, I'll greatly appreciate any help/advice you can offer. Thanks, Mark (Essex, UK) <Mark, you certainly have some great insights! You are well on your way to becoming a very successful hobbyist! You just need to make a few procedural adjustments (i.e.; quarantine, not treating in the display tank, etc.) to work out the "kinks". Keep a very close eye on the remaining fishes, and be prepared to treat them appropriately (in a separate tank!) should the need arise again. Otherwise, monitor your water carefully, maintain good, steady environmental parameters, and avoid adding any new fishes for a while, until things stabilize. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Ich "Treatment"- Or Coral Curse? My 150 gallon reef tank with a mix of soft, hard, and fire corals along with a dozen fish is having problems. ICH! <Uh-Oh- a familiar enemy!> My fish have Ich, so I went to my LFS and they told me to mix Marex in with the food and feed to the fish. I did over 3 days. The fish seem better, but still visible ich spots. <Well, these types of food-based medications are not always effective with this illness. Better methods of treatment exist> The big problem...My corals... My elegance Coral melted off it's skeleton onto the live rock, my Acroporas turned bleach white, and my Sebae anemone died.... What's up? The medication? <Quite possible. Was the medication a liquid or powder mixed into the food? It is very possible that this stuff is not (as many manufacturers like to label their products) "reef safe". Quite frankly, it is my opinion that treatment for any disease should take place in a separate aquarium, and that the main system should run fallow, without fishes, to help disrupt the life cycle of the causative protozoan. Much has been written about this technique on the WWM site, so do look into this method. Of course, it is equally possible that there has been some other sudden environmental lapse that has resulted in your corals being adversely affected. Do some water parameter tests, and take action if needed to correct them. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Taking Action- Or Holding Off..? (Disease Treatment) Hi Crew, <Scott F. with you today!> Time for another question from a paranoid newbie. <We're all a bit paranoid from time to time- no worries> I have a Tank that has been up for over 2 months and have my first fish, a bicolor blenny (Ecsenius bicolor) in 10 gallon QT.  The fish is active, and eating like a little piglet.  He grudgingly eats Formula 2, but loves Spirulina.  Water quality is good (temp 76, SG 1.018, PH 8.2, Ammonia 0.4, Nitrite 0.2, Nitrate 0 - these readings were prior to a 4 gallon water change yesterday evening) and water changes are frequent as this tank is not cycled. Since I got the fish (10 days ago), I have noticed a patch on the top of his head (back of his neck?) behind the eyes and before the start of the dorsal fin.  The patch is lighter than the surrounding area and appears slightly puffed out.  It does not look like any of the disease pictures and I am inclined to think it is merely an injury sustained in netting, transport, acclimation or introduction to my tank.  What concerns me is that he is ?scratching? it on the rubber cap on the end of the heater (sort of a charge and roll maneuver).  I am trying not to over react (first, do no harm) and be patient.  Is 1.018 low enough to be effective if it is a parasitic infection?   <Well, real "hyposalinity" treatments seem to be more "effective" at 1.015 or so...I am not personally convinced of the effectiveness of hyposalinity...I have found that straight freshwater dips seem to be more effective in alleviating parasite related infections.> Dips scare me (cause me at least as much stress as the fish) but if that should be required would Formalin be the right stuff? (it is discourage on the site, encouraged from time to time in the FAQ and despite the fact that I live in CA, available at my LFS - am so confused). <Well, Formalin is effective. I won't disagree with you- FW dips are somewhat stressful. However, if you're not certain what you are dealing with, and the severity of the problem, using an aggressive medical treatment is not a great idea, either. I'd opt for some additional observation before commencing any treatment here. If things do not improve, or if other symptoms of a more "common" parasitic malady manifest themselves, I'd opt for the pure freshwater dips, followed by a formalin-based product in a separate treatment tank> Where do you get Methylene Blue and can it be used with tank water or only with fresh (can you tell I am scared to do this) ? <Methylene Blue is available from any fish store or e-tailer. It is about as gentle and harmless as you can get. It is not really effective as a "treatment" for parasitic illnesses. It is a great as a dip for newly-received fishes prior to quarantine, however> Again this patch has been there for the whole 10 days and this fish is very active and appears (in all other ways) to be the picture of health. If the advice is to wait what, should I watch for? Thanks, Arnold <Well, Arnold- I'd look for any other signs of parasitic diseases, such as difficulty in breathing, sloughing of mucus or body slime, general lethargic behaviors, etc. Sometimes it is better to refrain from aggressive treatment until you're positive what it is that you're dealing with...Observe a little more, and be sure to take action if the fish seems to be declining...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Everyone Out- But To Where? I recently bought a Lemonpeel Angelfish and after a few days he had ich. I treated him with copper in my quarantine tank and he is better now. The main tank hasn't been treated and I'm afraid to put him back in the main tank because the ich is still there. I know I'm supposed to take all the fish out for 30 days, but my qt isn't big enough to hold them all. What should I do? <Well, a good course of action might be to obtain a large plastic trash can or other suitably sized fish-safe container, and use that as a temporary holding facility while your display runs fallow. Not a perfect solution, but it can work well in a pinch! Regards, Scott F>

- Stop Chasing that Fish Around... - Please help... I'm in desperate need of your assistance.  The tang has ick and I can't get it out of the tank ,around and around we go.  I have a reef system and do water changes per your advise. What do I do?  I feel that I'm causing more stress to fish chasing him around than the ick. <You're quite right about that.> Got any ideas? <Yeah, but you may not like it. I think you need to drain the tank - not completely, but enough to remove one of the degrees of freedom your fish is accustomed to. I've had to do this myself, and it's not exactly fun but sometimes there just aren't many other options. Get hold of a 1" flexible hose or drain line and a couple of garbage cans - I had to use three... drain down the tank to a couple of inches, net the fish into a bucket and refill the tank. Treat the fish after the tank has been refilled. Make sure you get the one inch hose so that you can empty the tank quickly; it will be over before you know it.> Valerie <Cheers, J -- >

A Noble Experiment (Ich Treatment) About how big," in microns preferably", is the free swimming stage or tomont stage of these protozoa? <Anywhere from 60-370 microns in size> Can they be filtered out effectively? <In the free-swimming stages, it is theoretically possible, but probably rather difficult, because the density of the protozoans in the water column is rather sparse. Usually easier to siphon out the tomonts after 12-18 hours, when they create a cyst and attach to substrates. Using daily 100% water changes, siphoning from the bottom in a bare tank may allow a successful cure without using medications, as you are probably aware> I have a 20 gallon QT  tank with a piece of PVC pipe and two smooth round rocks about eight inches in diameter without any bottom substrate I.E. gravel  that I am experimenting with. <Good> I'm trying to eliminate these critters by using a 1/12 hp Little Giant pump linked to a filter canister.  I am also implementing a 30 watt double helix UV sterilizer  with a flow rate of about 1 1/2 gallons per minute. <Interesting...> Hyposalinity  has been established at a reading of 1.008 and I am also using light manipulation.  I have set the temp to 82 degrees," I realize only the one type of protozoa will be affected". I plan on getting a protein skimmer before I start. The tank has been established for about 2 months now with a whisper 30-60 bio-filter that was established by live rock.  I was basically wondering what size filter I should try and use in the canister or if I'm just wasting my time and use it for extra filtration? <Not a waste of time, but you'd want to go with a micron sleeve of some sort> I plan to go to the LFS and buy one of the most infested damsels and try to cure then return it if it gets better or he might just become the local in my QT tank? Just a thought.  If this doesn't work I will just let the tank go fallow for a month or so, I've got nothing but time. <Interesting and noble idea...ell worth the experiment> That's my new saying after I failed so miserably on my first attempt at saltwater. Just wanted to let you guy's know, if it wasn't for your site I would have already given up on keeping saltwater fish.. Thanks again. <I like your expression...Do take your time and carefully record your results. I wish you luck on your experiment. Regards, Scott F.>

Now It's All About the Stress-Zyme - With A "Kicker"  >I think you've misunderstood the use of "Stress-Zyme".  >>I'm going by what you've posted me, Chris. I am familiar with the product, and as stated before, find it useless.  >Once the biological activity is established, stress-zyme is no longer used.  >>IF your biological filtration/colony were established, you wouldn't be using the Stress-Zyme with each water change, as indicated in your previous post: "..some tank information. Its 10 gallons, for one. I had just recently done a complete water change, after it had not been changed for a LONG time (neglected all summer). The problem developed after I did the water change. Usually the tank is completely bare except for a few plastic flowers (no sand, no gravel, no nothing, and they've been fine for years). I used to always just use "Stress-Zyme", and kept adding it weekly until I noticed the ammonia and nitrite levels drop."  >>Chris, this indicates to me that, in said bare tank, you do not have surface area sufficient to allow enough area for colonization of the benthic nitrifying bacteria. You have yet to mention filtration, however, in my 20 or so years of experience, if you did have sufficient and suitable filtration, you would not need to use the Stress-Zyme to re-establish bacterial colonies. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your water change regimen, it's unusual for folks to perform a 100% water change, as this is indeed quite stressful to both fish and bacteria.  >The biological filtration is There, or "Established".  >>How so?  >I think you feel that Stress-Zyme is used continuously, whenever the ammonia levels get out of whack.  >>No, I believe that you're using it with your water changes based on what you sent me, as that's all I have to go by.  >That is not the case. That's why I use the word "Established." Once the beneficial bacteria are there thriving, that's it, no more "stress zyme" is necessary. Ever. So no, they aren't exposed to ammonia or nitrite spikes.  >>I beg to differ, Chris. You said yourself that "I used to always just use "Stress-Zyme", and kept adding it weekly until I noticed the ammonia and nitrite levels drop." Logically, in order for the levels to drop, they *must* have gone up.  >Obviously I am killing the beneficial bacteria with this antibiotic, but it's a small price to pay to try and kill whatever bad bacteria *might* be on my fish.  >>Well, yes, but you're assuming that it's bacteria that are the causative agent here. Indiscriminate medication in the hopes that you might get it right are stressful to the animals. As you've surmised, you're going about killing the bacteria that were allegedly living within the sand, and the rise in ammonia and nitrite will NOT help the fish get better. The more prudent course of action is to ensure best water quality, not throw things at the problem that will ensure the quality is compromised.  >As for the ammonia and nitrite levels that might rise now that the  beneficial bacteria is getting killed, I can keep up w/ that with water changes. Maybe.  >>Well, at this point it seems your course is charted and you're on your way. I've given you my best advice here, and am sorry that I can't tell you definitively what is afflicting your fish. I can tell you with great conviction that compromising water quality won't help, it will hurt. However, I do understand that you want to get your pet through this so you can have many more years of enjoyment, and we all hope for your success. Marina  >And if the antibiotics don't work, I'll give him an anti-protozoan infection medication. What the heck. Haven't heard any better ideas.  >>I strongly disagree with this philosophy, Chris.  >After the first night w/ the antibiotics, his "wart" seems to have exploded into a little pussy white stringy thing hanging off of him. Another little bump is starting to form, I noticed it last night, right now it looks UNDER the skin, a little bump on his side. Just an orange bump, you know? About 2mm in diameter. Picture a 2mm diameter bubble somehow forming right underneath a Clownfishes scales, totally unexposed underneath the scales, and you'll know what this bump looks like. To me, it almost seems like some kinda of parasitic infection. But I have no idea.  >>Neither do I, especially not being able to see it for myself.  >By the way, he has had white stringy poop.  >>Now THAT is an indicator! It is indicative of an internal bacterial infection. Why didn't you convey this before??? Now, I don't know what antibiotic you're using, but the one I like best is Spectrogram. If, perchance, you're using Melafix, you need to stop and get the animal on another broad spectrum. There is also Maracyn, and Maracyn II, but I've really liked the results garnered with Spectrogram.  >So, have you ever heard of a bump forming under the skin, or a thick white stringy puss-y thing hanging off the fish, while he has white stringy poop and a disappearing fin?  >>Disappearing fins, yes (fin rot, as I mentioned in the first post), white, stringy feces, yes, the bumps/blisters/warts, no, haven't heard of OR seen those.  >I'd guess it's some infection, bacterial or more complex, that took the opportunity the strike when he was weak from a fin that is damaged for some unknown reason. Do you have any better ideas, or just criticism of products and techniques you obviously aren't familiar with?  >>Pardon me, Chris, I've spent a great deal of time researching and doing my best to try to help here. You are WAY off base telling me what I am and am not familiar with. If you're unhappy with what I've offered, I'm puzzled as to why you continue to email. Fish DON'T get sick from "weak fins", they get sick from BAD HUSBANDRY. I've seen it many times, and can tell you that yours falls under that category. I've tried to be as polite as I can about it. At this point I suggest you do your own research, obviously you don't seem to believe me. Thank you and goodbye.
More "Kicker" II 
>All I'm saying is that you really didn't give ANY information, at all, in all of your responses. Only criticism.  >>Chris, I asked for more information, was specific about the information I needed, and didn't get it. It is the product I was criticizing, and I stand by my assertions. How do you expect anyone to help you when you give out information at the rate chicken teeth grow?  >As for the Stress-Zyme argument, you chose to ignore the word "Complete". When I spoke of my "complete water change", thereby incorrectly thinking that I was adding stress-zyme every time I did water changes (including PARTIAL).  >>As I stated before, I can ONLY go by what you tell me. You spoke first of a complete water change, along with stating what you "usually" do. If you don't like the conclusions I've come to, know that it is based on what you yourself have offered up.  >I very, very, very rarely do this "complete" water change. Only when I've been away or too busy and the whole tank gets way out of hand. It's the easiest way to get a tiny tank looking good. But you are right, it's very stressful for the fish, and if I had the time, I'd find a better way. Whatever.  >>Indeed.  ">And if the antibiotics don't work, I'll give him an anti-protozoan infection medication. What the heck. Haven't heard any better ideas.  >>I strongly disagree with this philosophy, Chris."  >There is a perfect example of your "expertise" at work. You don't give information. You just say "What you are doing is wrong."  >>I'm really at a loss as to how to get this across to you, I CAN ONLY go by the information YOU give me. What you have given me is pitifully little. If you can find the time to email me, then I'm positive you have the time to go through our forums, our site, OTHER sites, and find that VERY FEW people who know what they're doing will agree with throwing "remedies" at a problem.  >Period. End sentence. No more data.  >>As I've received from you. At this point I am banging my head against a wall, and hoping that you understand that we, here, are ALL volunteers, we ALL put in a great deal of time to help as many folks as we can. However, we cannot (and I will not) spoon-fed each bit of information to folks who, for whatever reasons, cannot be bothered to get more information on their own. There simply are not enough hours in the day, and I feel this is the case here. You have given me VERY little to go by, and what you HAVE given me indicates both a poor understanding of husbandry, and poor technique. You seem to be more interested in what's easy than what's right at this point. Otherwise you would have bothered to do more exploring on your own. Of course, this takes more effort than just going down to Petco or the local LFS and buying products to throw in the tank.  >So thanks a lot for the "help".  >>I get the feeling that this is the furthest thing from an honest "thank you" you can deliver. As I said, if you don't like what I'm telling you, and cannot be bothered to go learn more when I help direct you, then I fail to understand why you're continuing to email me/us here. There are more sites online with discussion forums than I can shake a stick at where you can register and ask your questions. There is more information out there for uninformed hobbyists than I have been able to find on my own. I'm sure that if you keep trying you'll find someone who will tell you what you want to hear. That person is not me. Marina The Final Blow  ">Fish DON'T get sick from "weak fins", they get sick from BAD HUSBANDRY. "  >Actually, if the fin isn't "Weak", as you chose to put it, but in fact "damaged", fish DO get sick from them, Ever heard of an "Opportunistic Infection"? Seeing as just about 100% of common fish ailments are OPPORTUNISTIC, I am shocked you are not familiar with this.  >>I am shocked that I'm still dealing with you. It is now over.  You've been stuffing on the criticism since Post 1. Only in these last few posts, after holding my tongue, do I suggest perhaps it is YOU deserving of the criticism, immediately acting defensively when presented with an ailment you've never heard of.  HMMPH! Good luck with your site!  >>As anyone who's been following our exchanges over the past couple of days can see, defensive behavior is not the most apt descriptor of mine towards you.  At this point, however, irritated would be.  Thank you, I'm sure you can find your way to the door on your own. 

Angel Fish-Epsom Salt - 8/24/03 Anthony- Thanks for your reply.  I went to the Wet Web and google searched for Epsom Salt.  I read it and will purchase some today and begin the treatment.   <excellent to hear... I suspect it will offer some relief (osmotically)> I am at a loss for things to do, being that I have tried many things.   There was nothing on the symptoms that my female angel has so I am still confused at what kind of disease this might be.   <tough to say without seeing the fish... the bubbles in the scales actually sounds like an embolism... caused from pouring hot water into cold water during water changes or evap top-off to make warm water for water changes.... VERY dangerous. Drives O2 out of solution very quickly and carries the tanks supply with it (including that which is in the fishes bloodstream). Oxygen tries to equalize in the solution of aquarium water and the fishes blood alike by "escaping" from the blood/tissues (as with nitrogen on divers)> I read that I need to treat the sick fish in a "hospital" tank, my question now is: I have this sick female in a tank with her previous breeding companion.  He is VERY protective of her and fans over her when she is not doing well and what I always think will be her last breath.  Amazingly she starts doing better and starts swimming around 12-24 hours later.  When you come up to the tank to do ANYTHING, he acts like he use to when there were eggs in the tank.   Do you still think I should separate them to treat the sick one?  I haven't because of his behavior.  Plus, I think it is strange that he is perfectly healthy through all of this. <it is a common wonder, but know that this problem, pathogenic or not, need not be pervasive... every fish has a different tolerance/immunity to various things. Its not surprising that the male is unaffected... particularly because he is spared the stress of egg-production/egg-laying> So obviously she is not contagious. <likely not in this case> You had asked me in the previous reply if I had added any other fish, possibly them bringing a disease in the tank.  The answer is no, these 2 fish have been together alone for 3+ years in a 20 gallon tank.   <very good... and it lends credit to my suspicion that this is a non-pathogenic concern. The above theory in kind, if not constipation/blockage> They have bred approximately 10 times in the past, with most being successful.  I hate to lose this fish because of that history. I will try the Epsom Salt and thanks for your reply, just curious about the separation of the two. Thanks so much. MC <in this case... do keep them together. The stress of separation is not worth it and may kill the female. The male seems to be at little risk. And unlike many meds, Epsom salt is harmless to your tanks main bio-filter. Dose the Epsom salt right in the display. Best of luck! Anthony>

-Sick fish + copper with live rock- Hi guys!! You have proved invaluable to me before and now I have a problem I just don't understand.  I have a 40 gallon tank with 30 lbs of Tonga Branch & slab, a 5" Tobacco bass let, a Blue Damsel, and a Dog face Striped Puffer.  Everything was absolutely fine in the tank, no problems AT ALL for over a year.  The last problem, that you guys assisted with, was a Trigger that apparently had some kind of parasite that killed him in a matter of days.  The Tobacco Basslet began scratching and we subsequently treated her and she recovered and has exhibited NO symptoms since.  We bought the Damsel to check and see if she still had anything about 9 or 10 months ago and he has never had ANY problem.  Until now. <Figures, don't it?> I ordered a cleaner package (bumblebee snails, scarlet crabs, snails, emerald & decorator crabs) and a decorator package (gorgonian, mushroom, anemone, finger leather & a crappy "specially picked" coral <Oooh, you know when they pick it it's going to be garbage!> that has never done anything) from Aquacon three weeks ago.  Everything was absolutely fine, the invertebrates acclimated exceptionally well with the drip procedure and I thought everyone was happy.  The only thing I found wrong was an Aiptasia on the "special" coral, but I picked it off. <Excellent, they can take over a tank in short order> Yesterday, I got home and the fish looked frosted.  I assume it is something along the lines of Ick or marine velvet but I am completely puzzled. <Velvet and Brooklynella look like this> I read, possibly incorrectly, that invertebrates cannot carry such diseases.  Does that mean the critters brought it?  Furthermore, none of the water from Aquacon was introduced into our tank and everything was placed by hand from the acclimation bucket to the tank.  I just don't understand. <Is it possible that for some reason after you added all this stuff you got a light ammonia or nitrite spike? Possibly a fallen pH? Although I'm not familiar with the life cycle of velvet, ich settles out in the substrate at times and could definitely be transmitted that way.> I quickly got all of the invertebrates out (which was no easy task to find 30-40 snails!!) and put them in another tank and put copper in with the infected fish. <This should have happened the other way; fish in a quarantine. Now all the critters in your rock will soon be dead, which could create an ammonia spike and a pH drop. The copper will also bind to EVERY surface in the tank and will slowly re-release itself back into the water for a looooong time> The Damsel does not look very infected, the Puffer is COVERED but still swimming like normal, but the Tobacco Basslet (my favorite that I have had for years) is completely covered, red underneath, and has a damaged left fin. <Secondaries> She is sitting on the bottom (she usually does) but is laboring when she breathes. <It's in her gills now, you must act quickly or it is sure to die. Try a freshwater dip.> I moved the invertebrates instead because the she gets VERY agitated when caught (slamming herself against the sides of container) and I didn't think she needed the extra stress in her condition and I didn't think she could take a freshwater bath either. <Well, unfortunately this is the only option that will work with some speed.> We turned the tank off and made sure it would stay dark today so that they can rest. <As in shut down the filtration and water movement? Fire that thing back up immediately or everything is sure to die!!!> Are we doing the right thing?  Is there ANYthing else that we can do?  I cannot bear to lose the Tobacco Basslet, she is the most intelligent and friendly fish we have ever had.  Will the other tank, that has the invertebrates now, get infected? <No worries about the inverts. I do worry about what the fish will be going through though. I would dip the Basslet, and monitor ammonia, nitrite, and pH at least twice each day. When this whole deal with the sick fish is over, we can talk about what to do to get all the copper out so you can try to reintroduce your inverts.> Thank you SO much for your assistance in this matter!!!  I don't know what we would do without you guys!!! <Good luck! -Kevin> Arienne Wyatt

Returning Home After Treatment In the last 2 days I have lost just about all of my fish (2 perculas, 1 3stripe damsel and goby as well as 2 crabs) to what I think is velvet. <Yuck! Sorry to hear that...> I have set up a QT for my remaining pygmy angel so I can treat it with CopperSafe without harming my snails and shrimp. Now to make sure the velvet is eradicated do I have to remove the snails and shrimp from the main tank and leave it fallow for 2 months? <A month is good...two months would be more than adequate> What steps should I take because I've been reading the FAQs and I think I have just confused myself more than I already was. <Been there- done that'll> And once I return the pygmy angel to the main tank, will any copper from the QT that may be on the fish or in the water on the net harm my invertebrates???? <Nope. Any amount that would be present on the fish's body would be quite insignificant, IMO> I am worried about the transfer back into the display tank putting copper into the system. <As long as you're not introducing water from the treatment tank, there is nothing to worry about. Also, you're certainly not going to keep the copper concentration for the whole time, so even if some water gets through (it shouldn't- as you'll be netting the fish out...), the amount should be negligible...> Thank you for your prompt response. ~Irma <My pleasure, Irma. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Disease Diagnosis.... Ok here is an amendment to my previous email... <Ahh.. no problem> I think it may have been a fungus that killed off the fish rather than velvet...but I could be wrong. I have been reading even more and have not decided which it was. Now when I treat my remaining angel, do you recommend CopperSafe AND Maracyn just in case it is fungal? <Well, for fungal diseases, you'd probably be better off with Maracyn or other medications...Copper is most effective against parasitic problems...> I can't tell the difference between fungal and what I think was velvet. How can I tell which infection it was before I go removing everything from the system and letting it go fallow? If it is merely fungal then can I just treat the main tank with Maracyn and forgo using the QT? <Never, ever treat the main tank...Remove all fishes that need treatment, and run the course in a hospital tank. Velvet has more symptoms than just a fuzzy appearance on the fish. You will typically see rapid breathing, lethargic behavior, and other symptoms that are obvious upon careful assessment. read up on the WWM FAQs carefully, and you'll learn more about the differences between these maladies...> Again I really appreciate your help because right now I am just beside myself after losing my clowns... <I understand how you feel...Don't quit yet...Also, look into the possibility that the illness could have been Brooklynella, a very lethal disease, similar to Velvet, that's rather common in clownfish> ~Irma <Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Mystery Malady- Or Nothing At All...? Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today> I have a 125 gallon Saltwater tank with wet/dry filter, protein skimmer. Today I noticed very small dust like parasites everywhere on the glass and swimming in the tank.  They are white/clear and are about the size of a needle point.  My tank is cycled and I have all synthetic coral.  I added a Red Sea Snapper to my tank last week. Could the snapper have brought this into my tank? <Well, I suppose that it's possible- but it can be anything, really...hard to say> My Radiata also has a sore. It's not ick- the spot is swollen and the scales in the  area are erect.  I looked though all the parasite Q/A posted and have not found anything referring to this infestation. <Well, once again- it may not be a parasite- could even be a tumor...do a little more research on the site and other sources to confirm what you're dealing with...> I have no inverts so I treated the tank with Organi-Cure containing 1.25% Copper and Formaldehyde 17%.... What can I do? Thanks Darren Bradenton, FL <Well, Darren- I'm always a bit leery of using any medication until you are positive what it is you're treating. If it is not a parasitic infection, you could be doing more harm than good. At this point, I'd observe carefully, conduct regular water changes, and be prepared to take further action if the situation warrants...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Treating Parasitic Infections... Greetings all! <Hello there! Scott F. at the controls tonight!> You have been a lifesaver so far and I am calling upon your expertise again. I've been fighting the good fight with sick clowns (Ocellaris) now for 2 weeks. The good news is that the main tank has finally fully cycled. The bad news is that it is infected with heaven knows what, but I think it's velvet. <Yikes!> Yes, I have a QT now. As for the fish, his partner in crime died of what I thought was Brooklynella almost immediately after I got her.  He's the only fish in the tank (29 gallon).  He's now got a few white patches on his tail and the back of his body. He's breathing heavy, but still eating. <Hmm...a problem>   I figure if it was Brooklynella he'd be gone by now.  Too big to be ich. Velvet? He isn't scratching or flashing, but that was my best guess. <Well, the rapid breathing and white patches make me think Velvet. Very contagious, very dangerous...You need to take immediate action to save the fish's life!> The issue:  I'm going away for the weekend and I know the 10 gallon QT isn't stable enough to put him in while we're gone (the temp is really hard to control and requires a fan on it) and there is nobody I can bring in to watch him.  If I do some FW dips with MB will that do any good, since he is going back in the main tank (which has snails - so no formalin in the tank right?)? <Freshwater dips can help, but aggressive medication is a better choice for treatment...copper sulphate is my weapon of choice. Please don't put this fish into the display until he is cured- he's too contagious at this point....!> I also plan on doing a series of huge water changes before we leave, vacuuming the bottom.  My hope was that it might buy some time by getting the existing parasites to drop off and lowering the parasite load. <Well, this may work in the bare bottomed quarantine tank, but I think that it will be substantially less effective in the display. I will get him into the QT and treated as SOON as we return!  Is this a workable plan or am I just dooming him? <Well, I couldn't tell you for certain, but it seems like you'd be much better off "jump starting" the QT with a bacteria culture, rather than putting the fish in the display when he is actively infected...Parasitic diseases are terribly difficult to eradicate from the display, so you really want to keep a sick fish out of there...Good luck with your efforts!> Thanks so much! Angel <My pleasure, Angel...Let us know if you have any more questions about this stuff, okay? Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Putting UV To Work Question about Ich... Do UV filters help in the control/spread of Ich and other pathogens in the water? I heard they do, but just want to know before spending $100 on one of these babies. Thanks much, you guys are great!! <Well, there are some serious benefits to using UV on a continuous basis in your system. They do kill many free-swimming pathogens, among other things. It's possible that they can kill the Cryptocaryon parasite during the free-swimming phase of its life cycle. The key to success with UV is to get one of the proper size for your system, and to run the proper flow rate through the unit to achieve an effective contact time to take advantage of the sterilizer. Good luck with your system! Regards, Scott F>

A New Trick Against An Old Parasite? (Another Possible Ich Cure) Hi, I was reading through the FAQ's on ich and came across a reply to someone's question by Anthony that stated the following.... "No guarantee in a tank with sand or rock (more freq copper and tests are need daily to keep levels therapeutic because sand and rock keep absorbing it further...Eeek! In a bare bottomed aquarium, common Ich can be cured simply by siphoning the tomites/larvae off of the bottom for eight consecutive days. Ich cure that simple" <It is!> If all I have to do is put my fish in bare bottom aquarium (which they are in already) and siphon the bottom for 8 consecutive days why should I mess with copper? If I'm reading this right, I guess the theory here is that eventually all parasites become "breeder" cysts and fall to the bottom of the aquarium so if you keep siphoning them out the will eventually be gone?? <Yep> Sounds to good to be true. Any thoughts on this? <No- it isn't too good to be true, actually... It's not too well known to most hobbyists, however. I've discussed this technique/principle with Anthony before, and there is very legitimate science behind this technique...It will work...Now, it's hard to guarantee 100% effectiveness with any disease, but the thought behind this (as you more-or-less correctly surmised) is that you will get the cysts in their "dormant" stage if you siphon daily...Sort of analogous to the "fallow tank" technique, but instead of depriving the parasites their hosts, you're physically removing them from the fishes' immediate environment (i.e.; the treatment tank) as they drop off of the fishes...But you need to be very thorough, and absolutely diligent...Copper is commonly used to treat Cryptocaryon, because the parasite simply cannot survive exposure to it...Of course, there is the issue of "collateral damage" caused by copper...It must be administered in an exacting manner. However, for most hobbyists, the copper technique is a more predictable technique. Remember, however, that even using this technique- you need to let the display tank run fallow for at least a month, to address the parasite population there.> Thanks, Angelo <Well, Angelo, sounds like we may need to discuss this technique a bit further in a future article...Right, Anthony? Good luck with your efforts! Regards, Scott F>

Mending A Moray? I don't have a dedicated hospital tank, and I already started medicating. Oh well, another lesson learned. <Yep- so much to learn in this hobby, huh?> How does one make a hospital tank? Is this a temporary tank? What I mean is do I fill a small tank with system water, medicate for a period of time, then return the specimen to the main tank? <Well, that's the general idea...Just like setting up a quarantine tank. It's really a temporary feature, which you clean thoroughly and break down when not in use...Do a keyword search using the Google search feature on the WWM site under the word "quarantine tank", and you'll find lots of information on how to set up a system.> Will the main tank be ok without any inhabitants for a week or two? <Should be fine...In fact, during parasitic infestations, it's standard procedure to leave the tank "fallow", without fishes- for a month or more.> Do I need filtration on a hospital tank? Do I tear down the hospital tank when not needed? <Yes, and yes! A simple sponge filter, box filter, outside power filter, etc., should do the trick just fine> What is a good size for a hospital tank?? My eel is 2.5ft. long. <I would not use anything less than a 20-30 gallon tank...You could also use a large trash can, Rubbermaid cattle trough, etc, in lieu of an aquarium, if it becomes necessary> Also, I was reading about green eels on the net and I came across a couple of different names for green morays. I also noticed people saying the quote "do you have a true green eel?" what do they mean??, "a true green eel" How can I tell if I have a Gymnothorax funebris or Panamic?? <Well, I was hoping that it is not a G. funebris, which can reach 8 feet, and is not a really appropriate species for aquariums 'cause it gets so darned big! I'd check on the WWM site for some good photos to use as a guide... > Once again thanks. Ronnie <Good luck, Ronnie- I'm sure that, with your level of care, the moray will make a full recovery! Regards, Scott F>

Continuing A Course of Treatment Scott, <Hi there!> Just an update on the current situation described below with your comments. <Sure> I raised my Spg on the QTank at 34ppt and added the first dose of Cupramine on Day 1 and also performed a 2min. freshwater dip.  (Not as bad as I thought) Day 2: 7 min. freshwater dip Day3; Second dose of copper to a level of 0.5ppm of Cupramine., 2min. freshwater dip Day 4: 1min. freshwater dip,( he's catching on to me and trying to jump out of the bucket.) Day 5: 1 min. freshwater dip. Copper is still at 0.5ppm and I'm on day 7 and still no change.  Spot still there, no smaller or larger.  No change from the very first day I noticed the spot.  Fish is healthy and eating fine. <Well, we may not be dealing with a parasite here...just a thought. If he's otherwise healthy, I'd consider "repatriating" him into the main tank> I'm at the point of just keeping this guy in the q-tank as a buddy for the next fish I plan to purchase.  I want to purchase a neon goby and have him in the q-tank with the copper for the three weeks and then transfer him over to the main tank while keeping the Firefish in hiatus until he loses the spot, if ever. I was hoping maybe the neon goby will nip off the spot, but who knows? <A definite possibility> So do you think this plan is flawed?  Let me know what you think my next course of action should be? Thanks, Tom <Well, here's my thinking on this: It's important to quarantine all new fishes, and I commend you on that! However, I'd be hesitant to add a new fish into a "hospital" situation, such as the one that exists at this time, particularly if copper is in the water. I'm a big fan of copper sulphate to treat parasitic diseases, but I don't like to use it as a "prophylactic". It can be hard on many fishes, especially little guys like neon gobies. I'd give the Firefish another week in OT, then move him back into the display if he shows no further signs of illness. Then you could purchase the neon goby. Just quarantine the neon goby in the QT without copper, per standard procedures...I think that will work best. You're doing fine! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Return to main tank I have been treating my puffer in a separate tank for marine Ick with SeaCure for three weeks and he is looking fine now.  What is the process (if any) for returning him to the main tank?  Thanks. Susanne <I would recommend that you leave him in the QT for another week or two just to make sure there are no recurrences. Then you should make sure that the water parameters are the same in both tanks (salinity, pH, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, temperature) before placing him back in the main tank. Should be all you need to do. Ronni>

Maintenance/Stability/Ich Help Please. Last weekend I vacuumed my reef sand for the first time.  It seemed that the  stuff on the bottom is heavier then the sand and I was pulling up more sand  that stuff.  I used the Magnum Power Kleen.  Am I doing this correctly?  Should I try the Siphon Kleen? <Well, I'm a seriously "low tech" guy- I just use a piece of flexible tubing, about 1/2 inch diameter, to do my siphoning. Depending on the kind of sand bed that you have, you really only need to siphon the very top layer, or you'll disrupt some of the processes that a life sand bed can provide. Do try to get as much detritus off of the rockwork as you can, as well.> How large of a temperature swing can I have during the day/night?  It seems that my tank is fluctuating about 2 degrees (78.5 to 80.5) during the day/night. <In my conservative opinion, I'd be more comfortable with a fluctuation of 1 degree or less. Greater temperature fluctuations occur, but can lead to possible problems. Stability is important> Last night I lost my first fish to ick.  What should I do?  Can I add anything to my reef tank with an mud filter to medicate? Thanks, Steve <Steve, don't add any medications directly to your tank- even the so-called "reef safe" ones! The best way to combat ich in the main tank, IMO, is to remove the fishes from your system, and leave the tank "fallow" for about a month or so, which will result in a highly diminished population of parasites. One ich is in your tank, it's IN your tank! You need to take these steps to eradicate it, or you will have ongoing problems. Observe your fishes while they are "on vacation", and be prepared to treat them, should they show signs of illness. Read the disease FAQs on the wetwebmedia.com site if you have more questions on combating ich. Good luck! Scott F.>

Treating Disease In The Main Tank? Hi, <Hi there- Scott F. here tonight!> I have a marine reef tank with many invertebrates, shrimp, snails, crabs, etc. One of my fish developed a disease and I need to treat the entire tank without effecting the corals and invertebrates in any way. Someone recommended an herbal treatment for ICK and supposedly other diseases and infections. Does this work well and not effect the wanted residents of the tank? What is it? <I have to tell you that this stuff, IMO, is garbage! How can a medication claim to only kill the "bad guys" and not harm corals, etc.?  Don't fall for that. Perhaps there is merit to some "natural" remedies, but many are not worth it. Ich is a parasitic infection and really needs to be attacked in a separate treatment tank with copper sulphate at a therapeutic dosage. The main tank should be left "fallow" for a month or so to reduce the parasite count. Please do not medicate your main tank! For more information, use the Google search feature on the wetwebmedia.com site and look up Ich treatment> Also do you recommend metal halide lighting over VHO.  How many watts per gallon and what Kelvin temperature?   Thank You, Tim <Well- no real rule here- largely depends on your animals and their needs. Lots of ways to go from. Read up and have fun! You'll be fine! >

Medicating In Tank? Back to my Emperor Angel . . . I am having trouble tracking down a medicated flake food.  I even tried the Tetra website and Tetra medic is no longer listed.  I was told by one source that they are no longer manufacturing it because of FDA regulations. <ahhh... understood. A pervasive problem through the years> FYI, there is an interesting article by the Food and Drug Administration concerning the difficulty of obtaining drugs for minor species that would apply to fish hobbyists.  The link is http://www.fde.gov/fdac/features/2002/502_minor.html <excellent... will be posting this> So, in the meantime, I'm forced to treat the water she is in.   <nope... still not necessary or recommended. You can buy the meds separately and soak food or atomize/spray food with a solution of medication. When feeding flakes, drop the flakes and spray the surface of the water as the fishes gulp food down. More meds get into fishes and less get into the water this way. There are also recipes for homemade food (frozen with dry meds incused) all across the Web> I'm using Biosphere.  It's a three dose treatment over the course of six days.   <what is the active ingredient? It sounds homeopathic and dubious> I gave her the third dose this morning.  Tonight I'm planning a water change and a second round of treatment.  No noticeable change yet -- she still has her appetite, though. Wish I could do more . . .

Temperature in Relation to Cryptocaryon Treatment Does raising the temperature during copper treatment for subject disease hasten treatment <Increased temperature does in fact speed up the lifecycle of the parasite and is generally effective in quickening the cure.> and if so, to what temperature for a fish only tank would you recommend excluding quarantine? <Based on your last statement, "excluding quarantine", I take it you have decided to copper your main display tank vs. isolating the diseased fish into a proper hospital tank. That is an absolutely horrible idea, but regardless, I would aim for 82*F.> Thank you, Stephen Pace <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Fish Treatment Thanks Steven! You did catch me in time. <I am glad to hear it. The treatment may have worked, but it seemed incredibly extreme and damaging. When considering other options work just as well, it seemed to not be in your best interests.> I had decided I might as well hold off anyway, as the only fish who even looks as if he has a chance to survive (in QT) is the yellow tang and he is having some trouble. Man it's going to be hard to watch the clown die and the tang if he does. I've been rather suspicious of the LFS anyway. VERY glad I asked you on this one. I know that you guys have given other people information on reliable stores in their area... got any names for me in Toledo/surrounding suburbs? <I am not familiar with the area. Please check out of chat forum for opinions of others. Perhaps we have a member who lives nearby.> Just a couple other really fast questions that I have not yet seen answers to on your site (though that's probably because I've yet to make it ALL the way through). The fins on the tang are really tattered. Would adding stress coat help at this point or make it worse? <Probably neither> I'm having a heck of a time getting copper levels to .20 (which is what I've been told is where it has to be to cure?) and I have no substrate/rocks in the tank as suggested. <Good about the bare bottom. Maintaining copper levels is difficult. Usually daily testing and dosing is required.> The tang appears to have a bit of Popeye, though not as bad as I saw on the damsel that died. Will Epsom salt help at this point or will it have some strange reaction with the copper? <It should be ok.> (probably not, but hey... everything else is not good so why not?) I can't thank you enough for your time & your advice. It's nice to know I'm not stumbling around in the dark out here completely by myself. :) Thanks again! TJ <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Amyloodinium / Cryptocaryon Treatment Questions <<Greetings, Ric, JasonC here... >> Hi Guys - I'll run down the species listing real quick to let you know why I have the questions. <<ok>> 1 - 4" Majestic Angel (the latest addition who obviously did not receive enough quarantine time from me ) 1 - 4" Pacific Sailfin Tang 1 - Mated Pair Percula Clowns - my problem with copper treatment 2 - 3" Green Chromis 1 - 5" Pink Spotted Shrimp Goby. Symptoms : Noted Specs of Ick on fish - added additional 3 cleaner shrimp, adjusted for hyposalinity from 1.026 down to 1.019 - Noted slight improvement with ick spots - then noted angel, tang, and chromis gasping. <<Hmmm, well out of all those occupants I would expect the shrimp to protest the most. Most saltwater fish can easily handle 1.019 SPG. Perhaps you should check the aeration in the system.>>  QT set up - 28 gallon Rubbermaid container with standard mechanical (Tetra Tec 150) filter set up.  I have copper (Cupramine) and Salifert test kits for such. <<test kits are "A Good Thing" as Martha Stewart would say.>> My problem is the clowns and only one QT set up with no space for any more tanks - With the QT I have 5 already - 3 Reefs, 1 QT and Large Predator FOWLR. I have consulted several of my books and Copper is the recommended treatment for these parasites for all but the clowns - Tullock recommends Malachite or formalin. My question - Is there an effective treatment for all these fish that can be maintained in a QT tank for 6 weeks while I allow the reef to go fallow with my inverts and filter feeders - that will be effective and safe for all the fish. <<Sure, a pH-adjusted, freshwater dip of five minutes or more, repeated at least every other day can be quite effective. But this is only part of a system of therapy. Running the display fallow for several weeks would help tremendously. Perhaps you could convince your LFS to house the clowns for a while...>> My thanks in advance for a quick response as I know time is off the essence. <<If you haven't already, do consult the pages inside WWM for more insight. Here is a good place to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/treatmen.htm Cheers, J -- >>

Re: Ick (Aaargh!!!!) Thanks for your quick response to ALL of my questions.  <very welcome!> I want to clarify something: > Am I shooting myself in the foot by not using the copper? > <for Crypt I will agree with copper use. Not much else for copper> Again, I feel it's less stressful for me and the fish not to use copper at all just the low salinity for a while...will this work if I keep maintain good water quality and a stable environment post low SG treatment? (Please say yes... but only if you mean it) <without doing something extra like Freshwater dips... the substrate in the aquarium is a SERIOUS hindrance for effecting a cure with low SG alone. Hence, the reason for a bare bottomed QT tank (with low SG, FW dips and/or medication). But low Sg versus Copper alone as proposed above... I cannot say that low SG is the better route. You would need to be supervising the tank constantly and will likely have lost serious ground by not using QT/FW or copper if it gets worse. Your best route is still QT. Best of luck, Anthony> Thanks again - Sally

Ozone/Crypto Just curious, I know ozone 'oxidizes' a bunch of stuff and if it comes in contact with living organisms, its generally not good. Wondering, is it useful in fighting crypto ? In other words, if free swimming (or cysts) are sucked into the skimmer and ozone is present, does it kill them as well ? <Am sure it does weaken, if not kill these stages> Also, how is ozone effective if its only on partially?  <Mmm, partially... not a good/evil sort of didactic world> It appears that the ozone reaches a certain ORP level, and then stops. If your ORP stays at that 300 level, the ozonizer never turns on. Is it then the ORP level that is 'good' or the ozone itself that is 'good'. Thanks <Both... Oxidative Reduction Potential can be elevated, raised beyond the "300" level, can/does become dangerous to life much higher. Bob Fenner> Jim

Formalin and Furan-2 Can formalin and furan-2 be used in conjunction with each other? <I have used them together in the past. A good one, two punch against parasites and bacterial infections.> If not, can I safely remove the formalin afterwards with a PolyFilter, and then add the furan-2? <Polyfilter or activated carbon would remove formalin. -Steven Pro>

Where did I go wrong?? Anthony/Steve, <you've got the wise guy, this time <smile>> Not my "finest hour" as a fishkeeper, but I want to learn from my mistake and not repeat in the future. <as we all should, my friend> Just lost my Sohal tang -- 4 weeks after an ich episode that wiped out several of my other fish (everyone except a 4-stripe damsel) and the Sohal. Dumb me didn't quarantine him before putting him in the main system (got the q-tank the week after I got him, but already too late -- AND I will quarantine religiously henceforth).  <alas, many of us learn to appreciate QT this way> Anyway, he survived the ich. Maybe a week later, I noticed some spots-- one on one of his fins and one the tip of his tail. More like "lint" than the salt-shaker look of ich. Figured he had a fungus either as a result of the ich or as a secondary infection.  <some sort of secondary infection indeed, although still likely to have been parasitic. Very few true fungus in marine pathology> Treated over a week in 2 separate Maroxy baths. The spots went away and I thought I was home free. S/he continued to bump into the heater right behind the gills though. I thought at first my sg was too high (1.025/6), so I lowered to 1.023. Still was bumping into the heater, but not as often. Feed a variety of frozen foods (krill, silversides, Spirulina formula, Ocean Nutrition formula one) all soaked in Zoe before feeding, with red and green macro algae in the tank for grazing in between meals. I noticed a few days ago the fish was looking thin/pinched behind the eyes and in the forehead area, but thought it was a result of the ich episode and that the fish would "fatten up" if I kept up the vitamins, etc. He had been eating, but in hindsight, not as greedily as before, although he was always more into the algae than frozen food. Came home last night to find the fish dead. No spots or other visible external signs, no heavy breathing for the last 3+ weeks. Temp is 80, dips a bit overnight (maybe 79) ammonia 0, nitrite <10. <perhaps not relative, but try very hard to avoid even the slight temperature dip. A second heater is much cheaper than buying a new Sohal tang every month. Temperature dips are VERY serious and unnatural... a good way to flare parasites and the like> I obviously missed something, but what? I have read the "disease" sections/FAQs, here and in CMA but have not answered my questions. living and learning....Rebecca <actually... I agree. You haven't missed anything obvious at all. There was no clear secondary symptom to tell us what happened. Could have been overmedication that caught up, could have been an unseen gill parasite... very tough to say. I wish I could be more helpful. But your feeding regime sounds very nice and with future quarantine and continued good husbandry otherwise things should run more smoothly. Best regards, Anthony> Where did I go wrong?? II Thanks. And may I say, a very un-"wise guy" response...(your fingers must be tired :) ) I suppose that's somewhat reassuring...(that I didn't miss anything obvious). For my own future reference -- and the "disease book" is my next book purchase, btw -- if I get into a similar situation in future, what are "good" (i.e. non "voodoo") medications to use for a parasitic infection like this that doesn't show up outwardly on the fish, but only via the poor critter bapping his gills into bits of his surroundings??  <Formalin is an excellent all round parasitic medication.. one of the best and safe for many of the sensitive fishes as well. Organic dyes can be good but are rather hostile (malachite green, Marine Oomed and the like). Copper is really only effective (although quite good) for Cryptocaryon> Apparently, my "fishy pharmacy" is incomplete. BTW, I am a huge fan of PolyFilter (that stuff ROCKS) -- dumped one in the sump and one in the overflow box as soon as I thought I was in the clear (the overmedication thing). <much agreed... an excellent and underrated product> Restocking begins... Thanx again ! <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Biocides, life and death in aquariums Hey Bob, <<Greetings George, JasonC here doing a cameo while visiting with Bob, who says hello!>> After commenting on your excellent book, here comes one more question. <<ok>> After cycling the tank for 2 months, (fishless cycling for one month, 2 damsels for 1 month; all N values to 0) I added 2 Centropyge bispinosus. One of them developed something like Ick and since I had a great number of Mediterranean invertebrates in my tank I decided not to use copper so I opted for a freshwater medication which contained formaldehyde, Methylene blue and another ingredient which I can't remember. UV lamps were on, skimmer running normally. In one hour I observed that the Methylene blue was already collected by the skimmer. However the next day I found all the fish dead except for one which shows heavy breathing and some brown markings on the skin of its head - as if the scales were damaged or forced to be erected. The fish is still heavily breathing in another tank, however I wonder what went wrong.. any suggestions ?? <<Well, Bob is sitting right here and he said, "You cross-linked all the polypeptides." Or in plain English for the readers, the formaldehyde/formalin is bad news - very, very toxic. In all likelihood you will be starting from the beginning. I'm sorry to say that your invertebrates will most likely be lost too.>> If you need any additional information, please let me know !! George <<Sorry to hear this news. Good luck, and lay off the formaldehyde. Cheers, J -- >>

Treating for parasites, thermal effects Hi, It's me again.. Oksana In one of the previous mails and many FAQ you suggest treating parasites, actually fish, through manipulation of the environment ( by lowering gravity and INCREASING temperature). I don't mean to question this (actually I do, but in the nice kinda way :)) <Please do> but wouldn't a reduction in temperature slow down the development/breeding/overall happiness of whatever parasite that lives in fish/water?  <More a question of who is favored/disfavored more/less... the desired livestock versus the undesired pests, parasites... It's more stressful to single celled organisms to be placed in a more challenging environment than multi-cellular (fishes et al.)> I understand the increase in temperature will lead to faster live cycle of the parasite (correct me if I am wrong), <To an extent, limit, yes> more eggs laid, more young born ?? <Not necessarily... in adverse conditions the common scourges of marine fishes "cycle" into intermediate forms (think metamorphosis, as with many insects)... that live off the host... and in lowered spg, possible exposure to treatment chemicals, perish> ..... BUT if parasites and fish live together, ALWAYS, <Ah, they don't...> and learn to coexist, wouldn't you (me perhaps) want to make the environment less favorable to the parasites by LOWERING the temperature? <In some cases, species, yes> This makes sense in my world, but it is (my world) quite strange sometimes to very many... Please if you could clarify this for me. Treating with copper and raising temperature I understand: parasites hatch faster (in the case of ick) and leave fish body just to be killed by copper in the water. I don't mean to be disrespectful, I just want to understand. Once again thank you, I hope you don't mind. Oksana <Never a bother. We are not "arguing", "disputing points of view"... only discussing facts. Bob Fenner>

Re: Treating for parasites, thermal effects I understand "change gravity - down". (good girl) Did I understand this correctly, either increase or decrease (basically a change from what already is ) in temperature will add to stress among both, the host (fish) and the parasite (bad guys). <To some degree, yes... both types, species of organisms have ideal to tolerant ranges in environmental criteria, as well as "rates of change"... One can select for either group...> Fish has a better chance of adapting while the parasites will go into a different state of existence, perhaps more passive in relation to the fish. <Yes> Does it make a difference in reducing or increasing temperature? What is considered more challenging environment for parasites? Are those (pests) all have different preferences? Did I miss a web page again? <Depends on the species, situation. Most protozoans (external) that are parasitic on fishes are better "sped up" with increasing temperature to hasten their development, leaving hosts in an adverse physical environment (poisoned by medications, removed by mechanical filtration).> I should leave you alone, we don't even have parasites, we have better, Lympho-something. Memory is going, going, gone... Once again, thank you, Ox <Ginkoba, vitamins, a consistent routine of vascular exercise... 1,3,7 trimethyl xanthine (caffeine)... Bob Fenner>

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