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FAQs on Marine Parasitic Disease: Diagnosis

Related Articles: Marine Parasitic Disease Marine Ich: Fighting The War On Two Fronts Crustacean Parasitic Disease, Quarantine, Quarantine of Marine Fishes

Related FAQs: Marine Parasitic Disease 1, Parasitic Disease 2, Parasitic Disease 3Parasitic Disease 4, Parasitic Disease 5, Parasitic Disease 6, Parasitic Disease 7, Parasitic Disease 8, Parasitic Disease 9, Parasitic Disease 10, Parasitic Disease 11, & FAQs on: Parasite-infested Systems: Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Marine Tanks 2, Parasitic Reef TanksParasitic Reef Tanks 2, & FAQs on: Preventing Parasite Problems, References on Parasitic Diseases, Index Materia Medici for Parasitic Diseases (medicines), Treating Marine Parasitic Diseases, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Marine Parasitic Diseases, Hyposalinity Treatments 2, Fallow Tanks, & Best Crypt FAQs, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine Ich, Marine Velvet Disease Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Parasitic WormsCrustacean Parasitic Disease, Isopods,

It pays to do testing... for water quality... chemistry and physics... to rule out environmental causes, co-factors...There are many free-living, and commensal life forms also that go misidentified as parasite fauna...Otherwise, skin scrapings, possibly sacrificing specimen's, microscopic examination is necessary for most definitive identifications

The More Common Protozoans: (Yes, there are several others):  

  Cryptocaryon/White Spot: Identification,

  Amyloodinium/Velvet: Diagnosis/Symptomology,

  Brooklynellosis: Diagnosis/Symptomology,

Larger Zoonoses:

  Parasitic Marine Worms: Diagnosis/Symptomology,

  Black Spot, "Black Ich", Paravortex... : Diagnosis/Symptomology,

  Isopods, Pill-Bugs that aren't such a hoot,  by Bob Fenner & FAQs on:  Isopod Identification,  

Led lighting/disease       1/21/20
Hey bob,
All of my fish have been thru copper, as well as two rounds of prazi pro.
There are about 30 altogether in my 180, from small wrasses and gobies you tangs.
I can’t help but notice when certain fish swim to my not powerful LED light up top (current marine, fish only type light) that these certain fish appear to have a white glitter in them. It’s only when they are under the light , at certain depths and angles.
The fish that show it are a masked swallowtail angel, an asfur angel and a blue ring angel.
Too numerous to count ( I feel it’s not ich) but almost like a paint overspray. Description resembles velvet, but nothing is dead and I’ve noticed this the past 4 days or so.
Again, 3 out of the 25 fish show it, no ones not eating, no lethargy, no swimming until power heads etc.
Could this just be the way the light is radiating off of them? Have you noticed this under leds?
<Could be a few things that are non-pathogenic. IF it were me, mine, considering all that is invested money and importance-wise; I'd be studying re sampling, looking under a scope re. B>
Thanks, bob

Ever seen this?      7/21/19
Good morning.
<Morning John>
I am sending you some attached pics of my box fish. This morning I noticed this white scale like cluster above his tail. I’ve never seen anything like it.. they almost look like large grains of sand. They look like they are just kind of glued on and I can see them flapping when he swims near a power head. Any thoughts?
<They look like flukes of some sort, I'd try a 5 minutes fresh water dip/bath and see if they pop off.>
As always, thank you.
<Welcome. Wil.>

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

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

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

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

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

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

White barred boxfish with oodinium      8/31/16
Hi Crew,
We have 2 white barred boxfish that have been fine for the past few months and last week broke out severely with white spots (more like icing sugar than anything) all over their bodies.
<I see this in your accompanying pic>
We did freshwater dips which helped someone what but not a lot and moved them into a separate quarantine tank where we treated them with Formalin for 24 hours.
<Mmm; very toxic. Better to use this biocide in dips/baths only>
The boxfish live at 67 degrees.
<I'd keep much lower; like the mid-50's F>

Today, although they are better, they are no where near good. This is a photo of them this morning after formalin.
Am looking for advice on next steps:
Here are my questions:
From the appearance in the photos, does this look like oodinium (or related parasite)?
<Almost assuredly Cryptocaryon... can be easily checked w/ sampling, microscope exam. IF Velvet they'd be dead
As you can see the larger one has lost a lot of colour, which started happening about 3 weeks ago. I believe that may have been the onset of the outbreak but the cold water suppressed the advancing parasite.
<Yes; all the more reason to lower it still>
Would hyposalinity be effective for treating these cold water fish?
<Can help; rarely effects a cure>
Should we drop the temperature to change the progress of the disease?
<Ah yes>
We are picking up some Chloroquine Phosphate, but will not have it until Thursday. How do we make it until then?
<IF you lower temp.; likely so>
Should the dosage of the CP be adjusted because of the water temp?

Would you recommend something else? (No, I have no access to a cold water cleaner fish, but wondering if a tropical cleaner fish would acclimate down to 67 degrees)
<Labroides et al. common cleaners; no>
Thanking you in advance,
and will be in your lecture at MACNA in a couple weeks!
<A good. See you then! Bob Fenner>

Re: White barred boxfish with oodinium      8/31/16
Thanks Crew,
<Cher bear>
Totally appreciate the comments. I am getting biopsy on Friday.
In your experience, are these fish beyond recovery?
<Mmm? No; genus Aracana are actually quite tough>
What would help
them in addition to the directions discussed. Vitamins? Omega Fatty Acids?
<In foods, added to water... to some extent? Increasing RedOx, much more so... a myriad of "things" that might improve water quality, stability, boost immunity.... BobF>
UV filter (which we keep on all our tanks). It is turned off
right now for medications.

Identifying parasite or bacterial infection           11/10/15
Hello crew,
<Hi ya Doug>
I am having a pretty rough time identifying the parasite or bacterial infection that is present in my Fowlr tank. I have a 60 gallon with a Kole Tang, 3 Firefish, a 3 stripe damsel, some hermits and turbo snails, and a skunk cleaner shrimp.
<Ohh, my usual blanket statement re such diagnoses: Can ONLY be done via sampling and looking under a microscope; and even then, at times difficult>
The Kole tang and damsel are pretty regularly scratching themselves against the rocks, <Not necessarily indicative of pathogen involvement... akin to you and I, sometimes the environment makes us itchy>
and I lost a Klein butterfly yesterday after who was also flashing. The Klein and Kole were pretty consistently floating near the shrimp to ask for cleaning, but for some reason he was hesitant but occasionally did abide. The only physical signs I see, aside from flashing, are present on the Kole which are really dark circles on his side, one small one near his eye, and on one of his side fins. The damsel looks as he always has, but is scratching regularly. I also noticed one of the fire goby's starting to scratch as well.
My pH is at 7.9.
<Ohh, this is low.... too low. The pH scale is base ten logarithmic... like some others in the physical world... a difference of a whole point is an order of magnitude in difference (ten times more/less). DO see WWM re
pH.... you REALLY want it to be about 8.2-8.4 and stable
.... there are ways... gone over. Do you need/want help using the search tool, indices?>
My nitrates are a bit high at 30-40ppm.
<This too is trouble, and/or indicates trouble... SEE/READ on WWM re lowering and keeping NO3 lower than 20 ppm. These water issues COULD BE the only real problem here w/ your fishes. I.e., no parasites... or they might be factors in allowing advantage of parasites, infectious agents to the detriment of their/your fish hosts
Ammonia and nitrite are both 0. I tried taking a pic of the Kole but he is shying away from me when I approach the tank.
I was hoping to get some advice on what to do to narrow down the issue, and whether or not a freshwater dip would be advisable. Thanks for any advice.
<The reading, correction of their world is where I would put all my efforts. Oh, additionally, I would be supplementing foods to bolster the fishes health. This is also archived.... on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Ich issue... Crypt, Acanthurids, using WWM       2/10/15
Sent from my iPad. Hi, my name is Shelley and I have questions about ich.
Last month I purchased some new fish that have been in quarantine. My new clown was starting to show signs of ich so I started using Herbtana
<Mmm; not a fan... this "herbal" remedy is just not reliable... operates only within a narrow range of water parameters, conditions... Has just been proven itself as a cure>

in the qt. well, I think I cross contaminated with my dt because my Atlantic blue tang is showing signs. His eyes are cloudy and his breathing is rapid. I wasn't thinking and I was using the same cleaning tools for water changes.
<D'oh! Parasites may be easily transmitted about by anything wet>
My problem is I don't have another qt and my 2 tangs are large, about 4-5 inches. So, would I be able to buy a tote from Wal-mart, remove lr and inverts and start hypo salinity in the dt. I cannot remove all the sand because I have to much. What will happen to the sand and at what rate do I lower salinity to and how long do I leave it at that rate.
<Is this a question? I'd be reading on WWM re Tangs, Crypt, Cures that work... do you need help using the search tool, indices? Bob Fenner>
Any suggestions would be helpful. I have had this tank running for 3 years and have 2 large tangs that I don't want to loose. Thank you.
Re: Ich issue
Sent from my iPad. I am sorry I bothered you about this problem. I just wanted to know if hypo would kill my sand bed.
<... you've confused what WWM is... you can just look this up.>

I thought it might be less stressful to remove the live rock and inverts than to cram 10 fish into a smaller tank. I know my mistake was stupid, and I am sick about it. I was just looking for some help or suggestions. I won't bother you again. Sorry.
<Not, never a bother; but do put yourself in our "place": We have no idea what you already "know"... and can't spend the time re-writing/keying "complete answers" to vague, broad issues... HENCE the accumulation of input (FAQs) and survey articles covering common topics... and their constant addition, revision. LEARN TO/USE the search tool and indices on WWM... You will find there is a wealth of useful information archived there IF ONLY folks will take the few moments to use it.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich issue; still not rdg.        2/22/15

So sorry but it's me again. I don't want to be a pain but I still have some questions.
<No worries... for browsers and to remind me where to place this; the prev. corr. mentioned herbal remedies>
I lost my Atlantic blue tang 4days ago and I don't know if I am dealing with ich or velvet.
<Only can be ascertained by way of sampling and microscopic examination.

Have you read on WWM?>
My other tang and assorted fish seem to be doing ok other than a few white spots. I lost the abt during a fresh water dip. I think he was too far gone for this. If this is velvet would I be seeing symptoms on other fish by now or does it take time to show up?.
<Takes no time... all would be dead if this Dinoflagellate. READ>
The symptoms my abt had were loss of color, erratic swimming, and heavy breathing. I never did see spots on him so I was thinking velvet but am not sure. Other fish are eating fine, breathing normal and are not showing signs of stress at all.
<... could be "anything" at play here. NOT necessarily pathogenic.
Acanthurus coeruleus; not an aquarium hardy species. SEE WWM re this species as well. Bob Fenner>

Can you please identify this?      11/19/14
I have tried copper, formalin, Praziquantel. Could it be Myxosporea or Lymphocystis? Is there any treatment
<....? These whitish, blotchy mucusy spots on the Zebrasoma x? Could be pathogenic (Protozoal, infectious...) or accumulation of exudate from something unpleasing in the system... toxic... biological or not. What else
livestock wise is present? What water quality tests? Actions taken? Use of chemical filtrants? Do you have access to a simple few hundred power microscope? Have you searched, read on WWM re? I would NOT keep pouring poisonous med.s here. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,
Marc Champion

Need a parasite ID/treatment recommendation... ... toxic situation     11/19/13
Hello WetWeb Crew,
I seem to have come across an unknown parasite,
<?... the pix attached; show two of the more aquarium-difficult Acanthurids... w/ a great deal of accrued body slime... exposed to what?>

 and despite scouring the internet I've come up empty. I need some help in determining what this is, and how to treat it. First of all, none of these fish have entered my display tank - this pathogen has been confined to quarantine. Also, I've now experienced it on three different fish within three years. The first two fish (powder blue and brown tangs) did not survive, despite months of attempted treatment and troubleshooting with medications.
<Sans sampling and microscopic exam? Have you read the mat.s on WWM re parasitic identification?>
I have attached photos of those two fish for your reference. I had hoped to never see it again, but now here I am. I ordered a Red Sea Regal angel, and he came out of the bag with 4 of these "growths." I did not attach a picture of the regal because I'm having trouble getting a quality shot, and there is no doubt that it is the exact same symptom. What I've observed, is that these "spots" start out as a small speck on the fish, bigger than Ich and wrong texture/shape
for Lympho. They then proceed to "grow" outwards from the body of the fish and form a 2-5mm filament that hangs off.
<... almost assuredly reaction from something "in/of the water"...>
I've seen them triple in size within a day or two.
<... mucus, mucin... See WWM re body slimes of fishes (these four words in the search tool; on every page)>

 On the deceased fish, I've attempted to remove the growths via tweezers or scraping in hopes of learning something about them, but there's no real anatomy as far as I can tell. They don't seem to be worms. I've had mild results treating with .5mg/l Cupramine, but the parasite manages to return worse than ever after a week or less of symptoms disappearing, while still in full dose copper. I have not observed the disappearing act that is associated with Ich, once a growth appears it stays; though the delicate end piece can break off. Any help at all or insight you can offer would be most appreciated. A regal angel is just about the worst fish to try and experiment with medications on. Thanks in advance
<Am almost certain this is simply body mucus... a reaction to... something/s in your water... Sample it and see (under a 'scope). Some treatment, an aspect or more of your system is poisoning these fishes... causing them to become "very slimy"... that's what this trailing white material is, NOT parasitic; not pathogenic period. Treatment... involves investigating, eliminating the source of toxicity here... salt mix? source water? some "treatment" misplaced here... Bob Fenner>

Re: Need a parasite ID/treatment recommendation    11/19/13
Thank you very much for your reply Bob,
<Welcome Ami>
I had considered the possibility of excess mucous also, but there is nothing (detectable)
<The operative word... I WOULD add a unit or two of both ChemiPure (or eq.) and PolyFilter in your circulation, filter flow path... likely whatever this is... will be sufficiently absorbed to make a difference. Going forward I strongly suggest you look about for a source of metal poisoning (a fitting, piece of décor...) and sources of aerosols... ask your water supplier (number on your bill) for their analysis of your source water>
 in my water that could be acting as a toxin. Is there something specific you would have me check for? The obvious parameters are all perfect in my quarantine systems and display - Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate are all 0, phosphates are undetectable,
<... How are NO3 and HPO4 rendered as zero? Chemical filtrants may be the source of trouble here>
 I run my salinity at 1.025, temperature is 78 degrees. These fishes all exhibited symptoms prior to any medication being introduced, and within a day of being moved; including the regal angel which came out of the bag from LiveAquaria this way.
<Am doubly concerned then LA has very good livestock... they buy exclusively from the best outfit in the US... and several friends in turn supply them>
The two tangs came from the tanks of fellow reefers where they lived for years, but had never been quarantined previously. I am well aware of the difficulty level of the tangs, and I currently have powder blue, powder blue hybrid, and achilles all living quite happy and healthy in my 520g reef tank. I attribute my success to quarantine. These particular fish that showed sloughing mucous seemed quite random. Also, what am I looking for under a microscope?
<Structure; send along pix>
 Verifying that it is indeed mucous, or the nature of said mucous?
<Amorphous, almost clear, w/ some slight thread-like inclusions>

I will need to pick one up as I don't have one on hand.
<See WWM re>
 I have managed to take picture of the regal, the "mucous" blends in with the pattern of the fish unfortunately, each area is about 3mm long.
<Can't make out much more than this>
 I realize the picture looks pretty mild, but after experiencing what I have in the past with this thing, I'm nervous to say the least. I am also unsure how such excess mucous would manifest itself the same way in such soft bodied tangs and the thoroughly scaled angelfish. For now I will focus on getting her a healthy appetite. Thank you for your help!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ich or Velvet?    11/18/13
Thanks for all your help.
I have all fish in QT… and Kole tang died, one Chromis died… and it now looks as if the ocellaris are on their way out.
I have been treating with Cupramine for 5 days now (and testing copper levels).  Began to see an improvement, however this morning the clowns don’t look so good.
I have attached a pic of the female clown. 
Could you help me in identifying the diseases/parasite?
<See WWM re... do you have a microscope?>
I though it was crypto, but now I think velvet.  Shouldn’t Cupramine have helped?
<.... IF velvet all would likely be dead. Looks symptomatically like Cryptocaryon in this pic. Cupramine at proper levels should have helped. See WWM re this as well. Too much to re-re-re-state, esp. from an airport terminal.
Bob Fenner>
Thanks again,
Matt K

Puffer with White Pimple looking thing on Eyelid     11/7/13
Good afternoon! Ok, so it appears that our Dogface puffer has developed a white pimple spot on eyelid. I see no other marks or bumps on him or any other fish.
<Mmm, just the one fish and one zot...>
 Currently  he is in a 90gall tank with a snowflake eel and a coral beauty. We had an outbreak of Ich a few months ago and fallowed the tank for about 45days. We just introduced the fish back in the 90gallon tank and everything seemed fine. But now, puppy the puffer fish has developed this white spot on his eyelid. Is there any way to determine what
this is?
<Well; yes... but not worth doing in my opinion... take the fish out, sample some body slime, perhaps the dot itself, look under a 'scope... study up re what you're seeing...>
 He is eating normally and acting fine.
<I would leave all as is... do what you can to provide stable, optimized conditions and good nutrition>
Thanks so much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Parasite ID     5/21/13
Good evening WWM crew,
My hippo tang, flame angelfish, and clownfish may be infected <infested> with a parasite that I'm having trouble identifying. I have only seen it a few times on them, but they yawn a lot which leads me to believe it is mostly in their gills. It is about the length of lead in a mechanical pencil (a little smaller actually). I can just barely see it, but I can tell that it is long and narrow, not round. It does not move once attached until a few days later when it disappears. The fish lose a scale or two (turns whitish/clear and falls off) every few days. They have had this condition for a few weeks and the severity is not progressing quickly, so I don't think it is Ich. Any thoughts?
<Mmm, this may (just) be body mucus... some sort of irritation (many possibilities)... causing the fishes to exude>
Might parasitic copepods be this small?
<Can be; yes... but are not oblong, worm-like, unless the host is very large (bill fish, whales)>
 I have tried treating with Chloroquine phosphate and Praziquantel to no effect.
<Again; I'd do what you can to spiff up water quality here; see WWM... water changes, chemical filtrants, RedOx improvement... Unless you get samples, look under a microscope, I would NOT randomly medicate>
 I'd rather not use copper in my tank. Do you think parinox will help?
Thank you for your advice!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Disease Identification... Marine Disease> Protozoan?> Crypt?> ID f'    4/10/13
Hello WWM Crew!
I have a couple of questions regarding disease identification and treatment.
Tank info: Fish only, 55 gallons, 3 months old, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 5, pH 8.0, salinity 1.010 (undergoing hyposalinity right now).
<... see WWM re>
Inhabitants: 1 Flame angelfish, 1 royal gramma, 1 Barrett's Anthias, 1 Striped mandarin fish (which is eating Selcon/Vita-chem. supplemented Nutramar ova and can be fed pods from a culture I have if he starts losing weight), and 2 tank-bred ocellaris clowns. All fish quarantined for 3 weeks before introduction.
I know that hypo is not a great idea with clownfish, but I'm afraid my fish may have Ich and, for moral reasons, I'd prefer to lose the tank-bred clownfish because of hyposalinity (I'm happy to have paid money to support this industry) than lose the wild-caught flame angel because of copper.
<There are other (better, more effective, sure) treatments; i.e. quinine compounds. See WWM re>
I've been watching the clownfish and they are very lively with good appetites. Hypo treatment has been going for 5 days now. Would you please help me diagnose?
<Need samples and a microscope... all else is guessing>
Symptoms consistent with Ich: small .5-1mm spots that disappear in a few days, spots do not move from place to place on the fish, somewhat rapid breathing, visible on all fish (each fish only has between 1 and 5 visible spots but this number is growing slowly), no excess mucus being produced.
Symptoms that don't match Ich: the spots are more of a greyish/white translucent color, growth in number of spots over time seems slower than usual for Ich (although this may be due to the hyposalinity treatment limiting them), fish are not scratching on rocks but do twitch on very rare occasions, all fish have 1 or more spots, spots are located on the body but not on the fins (yet).
I already treated the fish with general cure (Metronidazole and Praziquantel) during quarantine, so I don't think worms are the issue. Do you think the fish have Ich or something else?
<Can only guess w/ what is presented. Again, simple enough to do a real look/see... from what you describe, these markings, mucus could well be just body slime, reaction to the med. exposure, handling and low spg>
 If so, I'd rather not treat with copper... After doing a lot of digging and research, I have found some info on Chloroquine Phosphate and Quinine Sulfate (Crypto-Pro).
<Ah yes; preferred treatments currently>
From cruising WWM, it seems that you prefer Chloroquine Phosphate out of those two. Do you think that this medication will eradicate whatever protozoan/parasite my fish have?
<... I would NOT treat them, these fishes, w/o sampling and examination.
ALL treatments are toxic, debilitating in kinds, degrees>
Also, can it be combined with hyposalinity? If you think I should just do hypo, I'd love to know that. But I'd still like to know if CP or QS is safe in combination with it. I know copper is not. Finally, does either CP or QS stain aquarium sealant, decorations, etc? Since the tank only contains the fish, dead base rock that was bought dry, and nitrifying bacteria that I added from the brand "Stability," I'd like to treat that tank.
Thank you for you advice and this wonderful resource! Sorry for the lengthy email. I have realized that attention to detail is essential in this hobby. Brielle
<Welcome little Bri. Bob Fenner>
Re: Disease Identification– 04/10/13

Thank you for your advice, Bob! I'll stop the hypo treatment and continue to watch the fish/not treat them. I am hoping that you can answer the last questions on my email though, in case the symptoms worsen. I have had saltwater fish before (about five years ago) and they died from an Ich outbreak because I didn't know how to handle it.
<This is, unfortunately, the "end" to many salt water aquarists involvement in the hobby. Worse/worst for the fact that if people in the collection to wholesale ends of the trade would employ simple pH adjusted freshwater dips/baths, the vast majority of such infestations would be avoided>
I would love to have the proper knowledge/medications on hand, since I have to order meds online and know they take awhile to arrive. I know Ich is very common, so since I am still quarantining/introducing fish to this tank, I'd like to have the proper med. on hand and the knowledge on how to use it correctly. Your thoughts are much appreciated!
1. Is Chloroquine Phosphate more effective than Quinine Sulfate?
2. Can either/both of these be combined with hypo?
<Not really; no>
3. Does either CP or QS stain aquarium sealant, decorations, etc?
<Neither do; though semi-semi-relatedly they're both better applied in lower (less bright) light settings>
4. It seems that these two meds harm the biological filter somewhat, but don't completely disable it. Is this true?
Again, thank you so much for your help!
Little Bri :D
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
Re: Disease Identification– 04/10/13

Have a wonderful day and thank you for the quick responses!
Little Bri
<Ahh! B>

Re Parasite id help, original and follow-up ** >><<  3/26/13
Hi I'm looking for a little help with an ID. Some background on the fish...
Began as a 72g with un-quarantined fish. Majestic angel,
<... needs more room than this>
flame angel, 2 maroon clowns, exquisite wrasse, cleaner wrasse,
<... inappropriate species here>
Everyone has an opinion I guess, I've had him for 6 months and he eats everything I put in the tank. My opinion is if you keep one, it needs to be
fed 4 times a day or more to stay healthy.
>> Mmm, yes. Much has been written re Labroides captive use... particularly L. dimidiatus... most (90+ % die w/in a day of collection. Some small part of one percent live a few months in captivity<<
Fiji blue damsel. After 2 days, Exquisite wrasse got some white fungus cottony looking patch and died within a week despite eating well. All was fine after that so I don't think that was related. I did add a hectors goby some time after and I began seeing some spots on my clowns, but none that looked like Ich. These were more cottony/fungus looking. Some other fish
(majestic and cleaner wrasse mostly) began scraping on rocks. Majestic got some large white patches I almost thought could be velvet and died within days. At that time I broke down the tank, thinking I had Ich and not really sure if/what else.
* Not a tear down per se, I had to take it apart and re organize to catch the fish. Broke it down was not the right term.
I used tank transfer method. *
<What is this? Leaving the intermediate states of parasites behind? Dipping/bathing fish/hosts enroute?>
* I'm rather surprised if you haven't researched tank transfer method for crypto. I have faith that worked and it only makes sense that if you move the fish to a brand new tank every 3 days, all the parasites have to eventually drop off the fish to complete their life cycle. 3 days is not enough time to drop, cyst, hatch and reinfect the fish. Within 3 transfers the fish should be crypto free if the method is followed correctly.*
>>Am very familiar w/ various ectoparasitic exclusion techniques... just wanting to be clear, prompt you to describe for the many browsers who will read your posts over the years<<
to treat the remaining fish, and I had a newly set up 125g with only 2 fish (dogface puffer and a juvi red Coris). The dogface puffer I was also sure had Ich, and so I caught these two and treated them with the rest from the 72g. I set up a 20g which I already had cycled, and used that for the wrasses. treated with Cupramine (3 wks) and then PraziPro (1 wk).
<Why the Prazi?>
*Why not? fairly safe med for all, and puffers are known for internal parasites Prazi is good for. *
The rest (Puffer, flame angel, 2 clowns, Fiji damsel) as I said I used tank transfer (I did about 6 or 7 transfers 3 days apart using 32g trash cans bleaching and drying in between).
<... won't work>
*Why? It seems to make a lot of sense compared to the crypto life cycle... *
>>... see WWM re... Or just wait/see. The stress of moving fish hosts, embedded forms...<<
No signs after that and from there they went to a 90g qt that I cycled specifically for these fish. I did not see any signs on them from here, but I did treat with Cupramine for 3 weeks to be on the safe side, and then one week of Prazi. I left my 72g and 125g fallow during this time, but I did add snails and some coral frags in the mean time. I went about 8 weeks with no fish but I did add some snails to both tanks only about 2 weeks before reintroducing fish. The flame angel and cleaner wrasse went back to the 72g and seem fine.
The 2 maroon clowns, puffer, Fiji damsel, and red Coris went back to the 125g. That was about 3 weeks ago. Last week I noticed a small white spot on the larger maroon clown near the dorsal fin. That is in the first picture.
I kept an eye on it but there was no other signs of anything on the fish or any other fish.
All of a sudden this morning the larger maroon clown is now covered with similar spots as the first. I really don't think this is Ich, as usually when I see it I can id it very easily with certainty.
<Can't w/o sampling, microscopic examination>
* Not much I know of that looks like it besides velvet which you would find out much faster that its not if that were the case. *
>> See Ed Noga's works... Can be downloaded via the Net for a fee<<
These spots are irregularly shaped, and all over. Some on their lips, very edge of some fins, and on the body. There is one spot that is larger than the rest near the clowns dorsal fin which almost seems cone shaped but fuzzy looking. All the other spots are fuzzy looking and around some the skin seems somewhat darker in the immediate surrounding area.
<See WWM re marine parasite ID> * I probably should have mentioned your looking at a 4" clown, and those clumps are sesame seed size or bigger, not salt sized.*
>> I see... take a look on WWM re Amphiprionine parasitic diseases; there are images, good descriptions<<
I took a lot of pics to try to show this but you can only see so much in a picture. The best pics I can find online seem like brook but I can't tell because it seems so different in all the pics I see. Also I would think if it were brook they would all be dead by now. I tried to send image links for the pics if it doesn't show in the email then you should be able to paste the links in your browser. Also Parameters are 1.025, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 5-10 nitrate, 1200 Mg, 400 Ca, 8 to 8.5 dKH in both my tanks.
Thanks for any help. Dave
<Does look like Crypt... on the Premnas... in a badly bleached anemone... but what to do? Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/reefparfaq2.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
*anemone isn't bleached, it is green, bad cell pics, camera doesn't like leds much. I am thinking that it is some sort of fungus/fin rot type of disease. No other fish are affected still at this point. There are several more clumps on him not and some look to be eating away at the fin. I attached another photo. Look at the rear of the adipose fin. About 3/16 of an inch now is eaten away there. Fish still eats well too.
Anything I can try to use in the display? It wont be an easy task to catch him, and I have new fish about half way through their qt process in 2 qt tanks. So convincing my wife I need to set up a 5th aquarium won't go well.
>> I'd go the route of (simply, just) trying to boost immune systems in place... See WWM re infested systems/reefs. B<<

Chloroquine Phosphate treatment...    3/1/13
Hey Bob, does it make sense to you to see a few spots of Ich or velvet on my powder brown Tang exactly one week into CP treatment?
<... can't tell from "just looking" (i.e. w/o a microscope, sampling...)
what spots are. May well be simple body mucus accumulation... from some sort of irritation... even the CP. B>
 I dosed exactly what is recommended (40mg/gal).
re: Chloroquine Phosphate treatment...

Ok. I see where your coming from. I've been in the hobby since 2005 and I've had my share of both Ich and Velvet. I know that it's definitely one of the two and I'm leaning toward velvet. If in fact it is velvet, is it normal to be showing up on fish after the CP has been in the water for a full week??
<... see WWM re Velvet/Amyloodiniumiasis... all your fishes would be dead by now. Don't write: read>
re: Chloroquine Phosphate treatment...

Ok. But a yes or no answer would have been a much shorter and easier answer than the angry one you typed. Short and sweet Bob.... Thanks
<Am short and sweet... perhaps a bit too wide>
re: Chloroquine Phosphate treatment...     3/1/13

Lol..... Uh oh. High intensity interval training (HIIT) works well.
<Thank you for this... am determined to try the P90 routines. Cheers>

fish worms - 10/28/2012
Bob and Family, Its Jim again! I hope you all are well, and it has been a while. Well life in the marine world had been very good for several months, Until lately. Over the last month or so I have lost a few fish here and there. Bi-color goatfish, fairy wrasse, and a raccoon Butterflyfish. They were always eating and got skinny. I figured they have some type of internal worm. Somebody told me to use Praziquantel and mix it with my food. I am not sure if I have been doing it right. I would take some Mysis and put a little in and mix it. Some fish like it others don't. I have been noticing my Queen Angel is not fat like my other Angels and she is a pig.
When she poops its brown on outside and white in the inside. I was thinking of hypo salinity my tank to kill the worm, but not sure if hypo will work considering its internal. Please help, Jim
<Well, if many "different" fishes are involved... and the thought is that this issue is an internal/lumenal parasite... I'd be more inclined to treat for Protozoans... as in w/ food laced w/ Metronidazole. However, there could well be other issues that might well show up per the symptoms you list. I'd do a thorough look/see re your water quality first, ahead of treating w/ anything here. Bob Fenner>
re: fish worms - 10/28/2012

Bob, Thanks for the quick reply. My water quality is great. I do 25% water change weekly. I change my charcoal, and poly filter every two weeks.
Nitrate, ammonia, nitrite is zero. Ph is 8.27
<Well, these values are fine. Am wondering how you render the NO3 as zero though... And I would only change our the carbon once a month... BobF>
Re: fish worms - 10/29/2012

Bob, My NO3 has been zero for months. Why would it not be?
<Most folks, situations "over-drive" nitrification... the most prevailing condition is for production of excess nitrates>
 I have a nitrate reactor. Its keeps my nitrate at zero and phosphates very low.
<Ahh... the reactor; yes. THIS is likely the source of the skinniness of your fishes, not worms>
 I change my charcoal every few weeks because the instructions say so.
<Too much GAC activity too can be problematical. I would cut back>
I buy the pelleted Foster and Smiths charcoal. I just ordered a tds meter to check my ro-di to make sure its working its working right. I respect your opinion Bob, but last time when we were talking about water quality when I had fish dying one after another. You said this before and I listened to you and James. I had my whole tank crash and lost $3000 worth of life stock. I told you guys that I read it could be flukes and you went back to water quality. Well it turned out to be flukes. Now I  am not saying that it was your fault, because its not. It was mine for not quarantining my fish when I got them. I do quarantine my fish now before I put them in main display. I never Prazipro my quarantine, because I saw no signs they needed it.  I do think it is some kind worm because a few of them eat like crazy, but never gain weight. I have a few other Angels and they are fat like angels normally are, but my queen is pretty skinny. Jim
<The final decision (as in nothing is decided till it's done) is up to you Jim. I/we can only proffer our input based on what is related and our knowledge/background. B>
Re: fish worms, Using WWM     10/30/12

Bob, Wow my nitrate reactor? Could you please send me a link so I can read about it?
 I hope I did not offend you Bob. I truly think you guys are great and appreciate your advise. Jim
<Sorry to state, I don't have time just now (am visiting in the UK) to search about for others. I urge you to learn to/use the search tool on WWM... using key terms that make sense to you. B>

White spot for a day, SW     7/28/12
Hi Crew,
  My 55 reef tank is 7 years old and I have various fish in it.  Recently I have noticed on a couple of the fish 1 or 2 white spots on the tips of their fins or on their heads. 
<Mmm, could be a few things... not necessarily pathogenic>
The spot lasts a day and is gone the next.  I thought it might be, for lack of a better word, "snow" but the spot seems to last most of the day.
<Mmm, could be a "trace" of a Protozoan (e.g. Crypt) issue... often are transient if there's a "balance" of health in a system>
 I do have a history with Ich so I don't think it is that.
<I wouldn't be, am not so sure>
 This has been going on for about a week.  I've only seen the sleeper goby "flash" one time but I don't see any foreign spots on him.
<This group is more resistant, slimier than many other fish families>
 I did add porcelain crabs over a month ago after they had been in the QT for 3 weeks.  Does this sound like a disease? 
<Can't tell w/ the information presented>
 The spots are very small, uniform and not lumpy.  Please let me know what other info you may need.  Thank you  Jennifer
<I'd just keep the system optimized and stable. Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
 Re: White spot for a day     7/29/12

Thank you, Mr. Fenner.  I will just keep an eye on them.  I just didn't know if there was something viral/bacterial that could present as white spots for a day, which I know if vague but that's really the only symptoms they are experiencing.  Their appetite has not changed.  Again, thank you and I will just keep an eye on them.  Jennifer
<Cheers, BobF>

parasites ID    6/28/12
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Hope you are all doing well.
<Thanks Eric>
I have a Flame Angel, two Chromis and a Copperband in quarantine ( 20 USGL ). On week 2 the Copperband showed two like Gyrodactylus on dorsal fin ( see yellow arrows in pic ) 1 mm long and whitish in color.
<Mmm, yes>
They grown from non visible to a 1 mm in length in 2 weeks. See picture item A.
After a Formalin dip ( 50 min )  the parasites did not detach.  So, once back in the quarantine I manually scrapped them off. Unfortunately they dropped in the container that I used to maintain the fish underwater and still.
In the bottom of container I gathered specimens B and C.
B was hard, stiff in texture and looked like a shrimp like bug but with no legs, more like a worm or cyst. C was more like shrimp. When I scrapped them off I must of released a bunch of parasite nauplii that were swimming around
( see arrows in red ).
Unfortunately with all the hassle  I was only able to mount C in the microscope, B is only seen through a magnifying glass.
This scenario has me worried and concern about a future probable heavy infestation. My Quarantine has a 8 w UV & I do 2.5 Gal water change every 48 hrs. The butterfly and angel do not scratch but Chromis flash /scratch on the side of the butterfly (????).
It looks like a have a zoo of parasites in that quarantine.
<At least a few>

Since a had BAD experiences treating with Cupramine in the past with the Flame Angels ( they died ), that I do not know how the Butterfly ( my fists and very dear one that is FINALLY EATING!!! ) react to all of those treatments  and  that I have never done a Hyposalinity process,  I would like to know with the info that I shared with you here.. what is the best course of action. The fishes have already gone through Prazi,
<Prazi/quantel for the worm/s, yes>
Metro and Kanaplex prophylactic. Should I do a hyposalinity, Cupramine or long term Formalin treatment? How long?
<No to all these others, but do add something for the Crustaceans. Read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/crustdisfaqs1.htm
Bottom line : What would you do. Please recommend.
<Treat w/ both an organophosphate and Anthelminthic... and soon. NONE of the other materials you list>
Thanks again for all the help.
<Y tu. Bob Fenner>

Re: parasites ID    6/29/12
Bob, Thanks for your Mail:
As per your recommendations I am starting the Anthelminthic treatment with Praziquantel for 5 days and after that with fluke tabs ( one time ) as the organophosphate. 
Do you think I chose the correct medicines?
<I do... just to check... there are no invertebrates present correct? Including no live rock in the QT>
If not please recommend.
<A lack of resp. will serve as affirmative for the above. B>

Humu parasite; not   12/31/11
Aloha crew,
I was hoping that maybe you guys could give me some advice on what to do next with this fish.  He has what appears to be an external parasite on his soft dorsal fin (see picture).
<Mmm, I see this white dot>
 Now the fish has been in .21ppm Cu for a week now (since i received him in) and was just yesterday put in a freshwater dip with Methylene blue for 10 minutes.
Still the spot does not seem to be changing.  Any thoughts or idea on where to go from here? 
<Yes... into the main/display tank. This is not likely a parasite at all... but a blem from a reaction/bent fin spine>
He is in QT (although with a few Chromis as well).  I do have an empty tank that i could set up for another QT if you think i should change up the copper with something else (not sure how well copper treats these guys).  What do you guys think?  More of the same (with a few more dips) or something different? 
<Diff... move it>
With Cu in
the system should i be worried about my Chromis becoming infected?
Mahalo for your time and effort, you guys have such a great site.
<A hu'i hou! Bob Fenner>

Black Spotted Leopard Wrasse, dis. trtmt. blitzkrieg   3/9/11
What would be a good treatment for intestinal parasites in Black Spotted Leopard Wrasses?
<Depends on the "type"/classification of the determined parasites... Protozoans, worms of some type... These issues are covered on WWM>
An ichthyologist at a large wholesale supplier said to use Ivermectin at .20 grams per 50 grams of food and to gut load the fish.
<... for roundworms... What leads you to believe there are Nematodes at play here?>
It is an extremely touchy drug to get the proper dose rate. Is there anything better? The fish are eating well, but one of four is much slimmer than the others.
<... Where to go w/ this conversation? Unfortunately, w/o "pretty sophisticated" tools, flushing the tract of this animal... it's not possible to determine what, if anything may be present. You could/can add a more general vermifuge/Anthelminthic and an anti-Protozoal to foods... if they're still being taken in. Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fshwrmidcuref.htm and the linked files above, and: http://wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm
Bob Fenner>

Identifying Parasites from FW Dip  2/14/11
<Hello Gerard>
I have a red Firefish in a new 29 gallon FOWLR tank. He's the only fish I've purchased so far, so I didn't do a quarantine, and being new at this I wasn't confident enough to do a FW dip. Over the five days that he was in the tank he was dashing his head against the sand about once every ten minutes...clearly an itchy fish! I thought it might be a gill infection (Ich, velvet, gill flukes...?)
<Mmm, perhaps. Much more likely though "something" disagreeable w/ water quality>
I caught him and did a FW dip. Almost immediately about a dozen white bumps started swelling on his body, and fell off. They were about a millimeter in length, and shaped like slightly elongated disks: flattened
in one dimension, and elliptical in the other two dimensions. Based on the size and shape of these things, can I rule out velvet or Ich?
<Mmm, can't say from the description; but not likely Protozoans... more likely Flukes>
I don't know how big the velvet or Ich parasites are when they fall off of a fish during a FW dip, but I'm guessing they may be smaller than this.
<Yes. If anything, they might be incorporated in w/ body mucus to be this apparently (large) size>
Assuming these are some type of worm or fluke, what do I do now? I have the fish in a hospital tank, of course, and plan to repeat the dip a few more times over the next few weeks. How long should I let the display tank remain fallow to have a good chance of starving out any juvenile parasites that may hatch? Thanks!
<Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm
use the search tool, or the indices. Bob Fenner>
Re: Identifying Parasites from FW Dip   2/14/11

<Hey Jer>
Wow, you even got my name right! Almost everyone misspells it as "Gerald."
Before I emailed you I checked the FAQs and found a recommendation of "at least four weeks" for a fallow period following a fluke infection. I'd love to think I can get away with just a month, but I'm skeptical since this is the answer I want. I know, of course, that there's no sharp cutoff that identifies the "right" fallow time. Even if one could positively ID the parasite there's just a law of diminishing returns that kicks in after a while. But even without absolute certainty, I have to make a decision to put the fish back in the tank on some particular day. If you can, I'd appreciate it if you could check my logic on what to do next.
First, I assume that this is a metazoan parasite, so doesn't bury itself in the fish's tissues like some protozoa, and therefore at least part of it is exposed to the ambient water. Based on this and what I saw, I conclude that FW dips are very effective and also diagnostic against this parasite. That is, if there are any "flukes," I'll see them puff up when I do a dip.
Therefore, I plan to re-dip the fish after about 2 weeks. I expect that watching the results will tell me whether there are any flukes still on the fish. I'm hoping the first dip was effective, so that the fish will be clean. If this is the case, after two more weeks I plan to replace about 30% of the water in the hospital tank with display tank water, maybe even including some sand from that tank. If there are viable parasites in the display tank, I expect this will re-infect the fish. After another two weeks, I'll do yet another FW dip, and look for parasites. If I don't see any, I'll declare victory and put the fish back in the display tank. If any of these steps don't give the results I want, it's back to the drawing board. Does this plan make sense?
Thanks again!
<Sounds good! BobF>

26/02/10 Stumped.... Forcipiger hlth., troubleshooting
Hi everyone.
<Hi Jay>
I am quite confused about medicating a Long nose Butterfly.
I recently treated my long nose with Quinine Sulfate for Ich and after about three weeks it's finally gone.
<In Quarantine? Or in-tank? If you did this in tank, then the Crypt will not be gone>
From a previous email one of the representatives from WWM recommended that I treat with a product called PraziPro because my Butterfly was flashing (he said, based on what I told him, he probably has gill flukes).
I started treating with the Prazi and ever since then my BF has increased rapid gill movement and twitches a lot.
If in fact he did have flukes, I thought the Prazi was supposed to help kill them.....why are they getting worse?
<Are they flukes? If you remove the fish and freshwater dip him, you might see one or both of two things that would give you a better idea: If he stops flashing afterwards, then it is probably flukes. If you can see specks on the base of the dip container (usually white, so a dark dip container might be prudent), then they also could be flukes. Removal of these and placed under a cheap microscope will confirm. If neither of these happen, then it is probably not flukes>.
He has been clear of spots for over two weeks
<Could have just cycled off... the fish may still be infested with Crypt.. in the gills, thus the heavy breathing & flashing>
and I proceeded with the full treatment recommended for QS. Please help!
<Another possibility here... medication in the water can/ does irritate fishes, to the point where they exhibit 'flashing' behaviour. You might find that with the removal of the medication and improved water quality this will ease off>.
Thank you folks
<No problem, Simon>

fish disease?   8/19/09
I have a 75gallon saltwater tank with a 25 gallon sump tank. In the tank I have one Tomini tang, 2 blue jaw triggers (fairly young),
<Will outgrow this volume>
2 percula clown fish, and a number of invertebrates.
<May well be sampled by the Xanthichthys>
I have had a large string of bad luck when it come to keeping my fish.
<Mmm, am not much a fan of belief in random variation>
I have lost a lot of them due to diseases.
<Would you like to pursue a discussion re?>
I do my regular water changes (10 percent a week), use carbon, sock filters on my drains, and have a protein skimmer. I also have a refugium for macro algae in my sump tank. I have used the No Ich treatment in the tank before and it didn't help, and I have also used PraziPro. I have had the Tomini tang the entire life of the tank (about 5 or 6 months) and he has become quite established. My two clowns have been in for a month or so and they are doing well, but the new triggers keep developing white Crystal spots on their fins and bodies.
<Have seen quite a bit of "this" lately... is it some sort of worm?>
The spots change very regularly, and by that I mean they are in different areas on the fins and or body
and they also change shape and color. One day they will be specs then the next day they will be cloudy smears and then disappear and form new spots.
I recently lost my fox face rabbit fish, but the weird part was he did not appear to have any spots. As for the triggers, their behavior is normal and they are eating well, but the spots keep on reoccurring. I brought a water sample into the local fish store (Blue Fish Aquarium), and the water quality was great. If you could please give me your input on what to do that would be great.
Thank you,
<Need a scraping, a look/pic from a scope... am surprised the Praziquantel did not clear... Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Trying to save my clown (trigger): SW Velvet. Disease identification and treatment. 7/31/2009
<Hi Don.>
You have a wonderful website with a great deal of great information.
<Thank you.>
I have a 165-gallon tank that has been up for 3 months. We have 1 clown trigger (4 inches), 1 nigger trigger (3 inches), 1 yellow tang (5 inches), 1 blue hippo tang (4 inches), 1 raccoon butterfly (4 inches), 1 yellow head goby, and 1 dragon goby (both 3 inches).
The water measurements are ph 8.2, ammonia 0.00, nitrates .20, nitrites 0.00, and hydrometer reads 1.022. The temperature of the tank ranges from 78.9 to 80.9. The tank has live rock and sand. We also have a 65 gallon tank that had been up for a year.
<Don, Thank you for providing these details. Also, while everybody gets along now and everyone 'fits' in this tank, you are likely to have some behavioral problems down the road.>
Yesterday my powder brown tang looked like it had swam through a snow storm. It started swim in small circles and refused to eat dinner.
Within about an hour he was dead.
<That is fast - too fast for Crypt. How long did you have this fish, how long was it quarantined, and how was it behaving recently?>
This is the first fish that we have ever had that has died. I had just did a 35 gallon water change the day before and moved the direction of one of my powerheads more at the rocks. I buy saltwater from my LFS same place I have been using the last year.
<Not likely a contributing factor.>
This morning it took a long time for our clown to come out of his cave.
When he did we noticed some real light white spots on him similar to those on the powder brown.
<Spots or bumps?>
He ate excellent this morning and we kept the lights off after the feeding.
At the dinner feeding the spots are still there and he ate excellent again. He appears to be swimming fine.
All of the other fish in the tank appear fine and there are no signs of white spots on any of them. They all are eating well and swimming as normal.
Could this be Ich or what?
<Based on what you are telling me, it is possible, that or Amyloodinium.>
<Read here for descriptions and pictures that can help you identify the disease and treatment options:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clndisood.htm  (Deals with clownfish, but good pictures.>
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm >
I am at a loss, since it is now on my clown. Everything I have says tangs are walking Ich carriers but very little on clowns. Any help and advice would be great.
<Do read above the linked articles above and see if you can determine the disease..>
Thank you,
Re: Trying to save my clown (trigger): SW Velvet. Disease identification and treatment. 8/3/2009

<Hi Don.>
Thank you for the very informative links. After spending almost all of Friday reading thru your website and every link on Google, we would agree we have VELVET.
<Need to treat and treat fast.>
So we went to our LFS and bought something they said works well and they run in their tanks called Copper Power.
<Ok, do realize that you need to use copper long term for it to be effective against this disease. It will get it off of the fish, but not kill it in your system.>
When we got home it was about noon and our clown trigger still hadn't showed up. We truly believed he was dead since he missed the morning feeding and we couldn't locate him anywhere.
Our QT tank is only 20 gallons and at this point now the raccoon butterfly, hippo tang, and Niger trigger, all were showing signs of this powder across their bodies. The raccoon looked by far the worst. As I stated we have a FOWLR tank and getting these guys out would have created a huge stress and we have no doubt would have pushed the raccoon over the edge. We still knew we were going to have to located the clown trigger body and remove it before it started messing up the water. We decided to treat the fish in the main tank hoping to stabilize them and possibly get them back on a road to recovery.
<Ouch!. This is going to kill any invertebrates as well as your live rock.>
This may have been a dumb thing to do but we felt it was like trying to stabilize an accident victim before moving them, so they don't die on the way to the hospital. This may have been flawed logic on our part, but I just didn't want anymore lose of life.
If they start looking better in a week or two should we move them to the QT and treat again?
<Treatments are best in a QT tank, as the tank has been 'nuked' at this point, start watching your ammonia levels - the copper will kill off your biological filter as well..
About four hours after the treatment of Copper Power to the main tank the clown trigger appeared. He still was covered with the white powder looking stuff but was swimming around. We were filled with joy and felt some sort of huge victory.
<Copper starting to work.>
Since the clown trigger didn't get breakfast we fed the fish again a small amount of food and all of them had great appetites. As the evening went on we noticed the raccoon and clown trigger going to the top by the overflow looking like they were trying to get more air.
<Gill damage from the velvet.>
So I adjusted the power head on the opposite site of the tank completely upwards to create a large break in the surface. I also add a 12inch air stone to the other side of the tank. We had also unplugged the main display light to keep the tank darker.
At 9:00 PM we fed them again and all of the fish ate. It appeared about 15 min.s after eating all of the fish retired for the night.
This morning at 9:00 AM we did a count and couldn't find clown again.
We lifted the lid to the tank and got all of the food out and ready.
About 15 minutes into this the Clown showed up. From where we still don't know. We then fed the fish. The sad thing in this time the clown or raccoon didn't eat. The raccoon still is covered with the spots and now is hanging out next to the air stone and the clown went locked into a rock facing the bottom if the tank. We are seeing very little movement from these two as I write this.
<Not a good sign. Velvet does kill quickly.>
The other fish are swimming and ate well. The gobies still have not appeared yet, but they usually don't until the light comes on.
The tank is dark, temp is holding at 82.9, the salinity is 1.022, water circulation is good, and I added about 2 gallons of r/o to sump this morning since it was low.
Did I create more trouble by treating the main tank and where should I go from here?
<Well, it didn't help - all of your live rock is now dead or dying.>
How long until we should see signs of improvement?
Can take a while, velvet infests the gills long before you see signs on the fish itself.>
Can velvet be killed by not leaving the tank without fish for 6 weeks and just treating with copper for that long? Or does that just create
stronger velvet?
<Copper is good for getting the velvet off of the fish, but it will not kill it in the tank unless you continuously dose for weeks. Chloroquine diphosphate is a much better solution. Try http://www.nationalfishpharm.com/ >
Thank you again for your great articles and willingness to help. Once we get through this no fish will ever go in any of my tanks without at least a 5-week QT.
<Sadly, it usually takes a lesson such as this.>
Thanks again,
Re: Trying to save my clown 8:00 PM update part 2 8/3/2009

<Hi Don, Sorry for the delay in writing back, had a minor catastrophe at my house as well.>
Good evening Mike. I just wanted to give you an update and ask for advice.
All today we kept the lights off in the tank. Since this morning the clown trigger remained in the rock face down and never moved. We also cover the tank with towels to keep it as dark as possible. At about 6:00 PM we fed the fish again, the raccoon butterfly ate really well this time.
<A good sign.>
After the food had been in the tank for about 2 minutes the clown trigger started moving and slowly came out of the rock. So we added some omega brine shrimp so the clown could have the opportunity to eat. He did start eating and appeared really hungry so we added some more food and he ate that also. He had a really good meal. He swam around for about 15 -- 20 minutes and went back to the rock he was in all day and positioned himself facing the bottom of the tank again.
<Good sign that he is eating. It will take a while for him to heal.>
At 8:00 PM we used a flashlight to check on him and he is breathing very slowly. He doesn't appear to be laboring. While he was out swimming and eating it appeared some of the dust or white that was on is body was gone and in its place was what looked like a sore or an abrasion.
<Yes, do watch for secondary infections.>
Also when he went to the restroom his waste was white and stringy. He relieved himself twice and both time the waste looked the same. In the four months we have owned him this is the first time I have seen him poop.
<Likely because you hare hyper-aware of his health.>
After spending the majority of the day next to the air stone bubbles the raccoon butterfly is now actively swimming around and picking at the rocks. All of the other fish appear to be doing well and are eating at each feeding.
The tank is dark, two air stones now in the tank, circulation good, temp 83.7, salinity 1.023.
What else should we be doing?
<Watch for ammonia, I am expecting your tank to cycle again.>
Thanks again for all of your help.

Parasites in Reef Tank-- Nope, Just Copepods. 3/27/2009
My question is about a parasite outbreak in my reef tank.
Most of the questions on your site in this category involved fish, but I do not have fish in my tank, just cleaner shrimps and snails.  My tank is a Red Sea Max 250 (65 gallon) with a built-in protein skimmer and has been up and running for three months now with a mix of Fuji and Tonga live rock, and a live-sand base.
<Ok so far.>
The other day I noticed a white out of dust-like particles all over my tank. These things are also moving on the back of the tank and in my opinion appear to be a parasite.
<No, just Copepods, read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i1/Pods/pods.htm and here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copepodfaqs.htm >
They are also suspended in the water due to the robust water circulation.  Will they cycle-through and just die off in a few days or do I need to medicate the tank (which everything I have read screams NO for reef systems).
<Do not medicate, since they have no predators in the tank, the population has exploded. It will settle down in time.>
I do not plan on adding fish and will only have a few corals. Thanks for any advice you can give me.
<Patience is all that is required.>

Black spot, maybe not   12/26/08 Hi there, <Hello Dan> Sorry to be a bother, but I have a confusing situation over here. I have a 90 gallon reef tank with; yellow tang, blue tang, two clown fish, anemone, clam, cleaner shrimp, sally light foot, purple lobster, leather corals, hammer corals, some polyps, mushrooms and other bits and pieces. As well as about ten, well established mangroves growing in my sump refugium. Everything was going quite well until I added a yellow eyed Kole tang (which I do love) to my reef. Two weeks later I noticed black bumps and some color fading appearing on my blue tang. As well as some lateral line and forehead peeling on my yellow tang. So I went on the Internet and found your site. I think my blue tang has the black spot disease, <Mmm... actually... you would very likely see this now, concurrently on the Yellow, Zebrasoma flavescens... I think you may be witnessing Microsporideans... not really treatable... and not very debilitating> but I didn't notice any info about the spots kind of bumping out a bit, <Good description... and likely shiny, kind of shaped like cones... whereas Paravortex is dull, flat...> and one day he was fine and the next he has 20 spots on him. So I am guessing I need to quarantine him, but what about the Kole (who is fine except for only eating off the rocks so far) and yellow tang? <Again... or for emphasis, I would NOT move these fishes... at least as yet...> I think I can deal with the yellow tang as it seems as his peeling is do to poor water quality <?! What leads you to think this?> and stress. I am about to do a water change and hook the skimmer back up (after two years off due to the mangroves). <I would> Should I quarantine all of the tangs? can I do them all together? What product would you recommend? <No, yes, None> Could I do it in my mangrove tank or will the medicine possibly hurt them? <Depending on what's used, yes> Sorry again and thank you for your help. I have never had a sick fish before and was upset to see him, I do have a good photo if needed and also don't know how to find this page again. <Mmm, should be here with your message/response. Please do send the image along> Thank you Dan <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

black spot, maybe not 12/27/08 Hi there again Bob. <Dan> I was worried about waiting another day to treat my fish, so I made a executive decision and went against your advice to wait to move the three tangs into a quarantine. I see why you said wait as it does seem to cause a lot of stress (for the fish and my girlfriend and I) to try to catch them. I was only able to catch the infected blue tang, but did so without disturbing my reef which seemed good as I have seen what happens when you start moving rocks around. I went to my LFS and showed them the same photo of the blue tang I sent you, <I still haven't seen this image> and he told me to quarantine all three and to treat the fish with aquarium Munster proto Marin Intensiv, <What are the ingredients here?> which I did do. I was reading the instructions and noticed that it said nothing of treating black spot or Microsporideans. I know I should have waited until you saw the photos but he seemed to be getting worse and I wanted to get him treated as soon as possible. I have the feeling I am not treating him with the right medication. What should I do now? <...> I know you will have probably answered all my questions in my second email but just in case, should I keep treating him with the proto Marin, and if not than what? >... nothing< should I catch and quarantine the other tangs? <... already answered> What about the other fish? <... How would I, anyone be able to determine what is actually going on here?> I have been reading about dips - would you recommend doing this? and should I keep my fish quarantined for 4-6 weeks? also I have a Marineland hot magnum that came with cloth like filter like those in vacuums, would this work for my hospital tank? or if not could I fill it up and run it with the sponge filters? Sorry for going ahead as I have read some of your articles where people did the same thing and they seemed annoying. Also sorry for two emails at once, I just wanted to keep you posted and if you thought the blue tang would be better off back in the reef tank, another day would not have gone by. Thanks so much for all your help. I appreciate it. Dan. <... Please, see, read on WWM re Acanthurid Health, Protozoans, Infested Systems... B>

black spot, maybe not 12/27/08 Hi Bob Thank you for getting back to me so fast. What lead me to believe that the yellow tangs peeling is do to poor water quality is that, It had happened to him before and when I started trying to improve my water quality it went away. He may have started peeling before I introduced the Kole tang, and I have noticed that a lot of the yellow tangs in LFS do have the same problems. I guess I diagnosed him with the head and lateral line disease. I did have a few mangroves slowly die in my sump a few months back when on vacation, and when I questioned the guy at the LFS about his peeling he guessed that my nitrites were high, which they were, and said it generally happens when water quality is low and they are stressed. Do you think thou I could be wrong and my yellow tangs problem could be related to the blue tangs black spots? <Mmm, indirectly, yes... the pitting is very likely mostly due to "poor water quality"... is a type/form of HLLE...> I should mention that all of my fish are acting normal and are as hungry as ever, thou I have noticed the blue tang rubbing a bit on the live rock. I couldn't find any information on Microsporideans. Will my other fish be affected if I do not quarantine the blue tang? I read some where to remove activated carbon, I run Chemi-pure in a hang on filter should I switch it off or change products? <... I would keep using the Chemi-pure> As for the blue tangs bumps, on the blue part of his body there are bumps with a black spot in the middle and around the spot on the rising sides of the bump seems to be whitish. However on his black markings he seems to only have one or two white spots, and on his fins and tail just black dots no bumps. Does this sound like Microsporideans? <Could be... but... net cause/s?> Is there anything I should do? Hopefully the photos are usable and helpful. Thank you very much for your time Dan <Keep reading. BobF>

Cont.: Crypt and, God willing, the lack thereof?  12/3/08 Dear Fishmasters of the Sea... And, specifically, Lord Fenner for helping me last time (I tend to envision Bob in a loincloth, perched above a raging sea, commanding the ocean's minions with a simple wave of his trident... But, that's just me) <Heeee! Replace the trident with a Kona Brewing Co. IPA and I'm there!> Thank you very much for your reply. "Be chatting" is a good sign from what I've read! I will spare you the string from my last email, as it mostly contains random observations and stories from my childhood. If this is Bob, I wrote you about my Louti and Panther Groupers, Foxface and Humu Trigger... All Thrown in my 100G without quarantine... <Ah yes... I do recall> Thought I had Ich/Crypt... Again, I have read darn near everything pertaining to the following questions... I get it - The information is there. I also get that different people have had different successes and failures with varied procedures and approaches. <Ah, yes> Perhaps it's my indecisiveness and need for a straight, definitive answer, but the seemingly contradictory advice is making me cuckoo. Options are not good for me. I have a 2 month old 100G FOWLR with approximately 100-125 lbs of Liverock, 3" Sandbed (will soon add 1-2"), Wet/dry 30G sump, AquaC Remora producing half the cup of daily, semi-dark green skim... 2x96PC lights on 10hrs... Ammonia-0, Nitrite-0, Nitrate possibly 10ppm, PH-8.2, Spg.024, Temp at a very stable 78-86 (Heat wave last month was killing me, so I didn't bother using the heater... Error... Adding fans has kept it under 80-82... Since it's now freezing in the morning, I just set the heater to 80 even. Nowhere else to go). <Good> Everyone is eating well and seem to be getting along. Have had Louti(5") and Foxface(4") for a little over thirty days. Panther(4") and Humu(2") for about two weeks. I know their personal, given names are probably not necessary for diagnosis - But I sure do love watching "Guerny" screw up my tank! Guerny is short for Guernica, as he is a Picasso Trigger... (Is anyone getting my art/fish reference?) <Mmm, yes> I'm actually only pretending to be this annoying... I don't NAME my fish! So, a few days ago, Foxy looked like he had two little white granules on his side. A few minutes later, they were gone. Now, I may have dismissed them as sand or air bubbles (have read WWM post from the man who misdiagnosed bubbles as Ich), were it not for what appeared to be two tiny holes in the same area. I have read that this particular fish tends to produce excessive slime coating (have seen it floating around). <This is so> Could this have been some sort of parasite that was easily/temporarily sloughed off? <Could be... but might be spurious> Shortly after, I may have hallucinated extremely small specks on Dr. Grouperson's fins, but it's so hard to tell on the translucent pectorals of this Louti. Nothing elsewhere on his body. Nothing whatsoever on Dot (aptly named Panther Grouper). And lastly, I really cannot tell with the Trigger... Twice, he had what looked like something on him, but... He spends most of his time digging and spitting out sand. He's got quite the tunnel under the rock... Same routine - swim around the back, come out the front, spit into sand mountain. (I'm half-waiting for him to come up with woodchips from the stand). In all seriousness, he does spit sand everywhere and on everything, including tankmates... Could that be sand I occasionally see on Foxy and himself? <Yes> Last night I turned the lights on... Everyone was asleep. I saw a white speck on the Rabbitfish and, so help me, it moved about an 1/8th of an inch (didn't fall off). Is that possible? <Yes> Could it be a Copepod, as they are everywhere in this tank (particularly where Foxy was sleeping)? <Maybe> My LFS guy told me, point-blank, "Treat in the main tank". <Mmm... I would not> He said if I am worried about my Hermits and Liverock with the countless, exciting hitchhikers, including Mushrooms and other Coral Polyps, then try Kick-Ich or Rid-Ich or whatever was "organic" and nonlethal to Inverts... Said it works "occasionally". <This is an honest statement... Also kills, results in the loss of everything on more frequent occasions> I said that independent research has been less than favorable... He said to just use CopperSafe. I referenced Hospital Tanks and Fallowing and Quarantine and FW Dips... I might as well have said that the "Internet" told me to dunk 'em in diesel fuel... Says I'm really over-thinking this. Am I? <Assuredly not> I guess that's an easy mentality when, as a retailer dealing in high volume, you have two systems: FO that you can Copper... Or, Reef tanks with inverts... If there so happens to be an infested Clown or Tang you simply don't treat it... It will either live or it won't. Instead, last night, I sterilized my 10G, <Mmm, need more room/volume than this> pulled out the old Penguin HOT and got ready to go fishin'. After work I swung by LFS and filled my jugs with 15G of RO/DI saltwater... Said I'll take the CopperSafe! Even bought a new Heater, too (told him not to ask what I was doing). Ran out of OSH with a bunch of different size PVC pipes and elbows (am now broke)... Came in prepared for a long night... Turned on the light... Not a speck anywhere on anyone. If I had Crypt, would they not be multiplying? <If a single/starting infestation... could be just moving into the next phase... off the fish hosts> Really? If I truly introduced it as a result of failing to Quarantine, and it was now visible on my fishes... Where did they go? <See Crypt's life cycle... on the Net, WWM...> I think I have frickin' air bubbles and sand... Should I really de-aquascape my entire display and put all my fish in a... ahem... 10G tank? <I would not... at this junction. IF your fishes are in apparent good health currently, I'd wait, be observant for now... As you state, you/no one needs "options", but really to sort through and set upon one definite path... For me, for now, given what you have related so well, I'd be patient. There is much more (currently) to be lost than gained by over-reacting. SHOULD a protozoan complaint manifest itself in the next few days... I would STILL not be so fast in moving the fishes... It may be better for you to aim/shoot for a sort of stasis here... Did I reference this last time? Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm and the linked files in the series above...> For a minimum of 4 weeks? Or a big Rubbermaid piece of Tupperware that my Girlfriend does not at all want to look at in our one-bedroom apartment? I put a lot of work into this! Where, pray tell, are my parasites? <Perhaps non-existent, maybe onto an off-host reproductive process> Would you Fallow or not? <Mmm, what was that statement/response that Dr. Frank Aubrey (SDSU) uttered years ago during a "Creation vs. Evolution" debate, when asked whether he truly believed that humans were derived from apes? "Not yet."> And really... How long at 80-82 will it take for Crypt to cycle and die? <Mmm, most of it in a few weeks... some maybe not for a few months...> I have to go to Hawaii in mid-January... (Nightmare!) <Heee!> Should I just be happy that I now have a future Quarantine Tank? <I would be> That's simple and somewhat reassuring. Here is where I find some inconsistency in the advice: If I were to set up a Hospital Tank... Would I take nice PH/Temp/Cycled water from Display Tank to fill it? <Initially, yes... this is generally best... Unless you have another/parallel system that is established that is pathogen free> Whatever Pathogens/Parasites will be transferred to Hospital, but killed fairly quickly with the Copper, right? <Yes> I'm guessing that I would have to do something along the lines of 40-50% water changes every other day or so? <Maybe... need to test... usually for ammonia...> That's fine... But from where do I get the water? Main tank? <Mmm, no... from new water made up that is lacking parasites> It wouldn't shock the fishes. Copper will keep on killing when I re-up for water change, right? <That's the theory> Oh my god... I know this is posted, but it goes a few different ways from here. And I don't have much money. Do I tell my girlfriend that I'm getting her a RO/DI unit for Xmas? <A very thoughtful gift in my estimation> Our love is like a Deep Sand Bead that, by the way, I need to increase slightly? <Yes, and stir gently...> I am going crazy. I feel like we're going to end up on a sofa with a bucket of fishes between us and the therapist. I wish I could sit back and enjoy the fishes that I assume are swimming on the other side of that wall of Diatoms... Ain't we a wishin' bunch? <Keeps us alive. BobF>

Cloudy fins, SW fish diag.    5/30/08 Hi, I have a Longnose Butterfly that is covered in a fine "dust". It covers his fins and makes them look cloudy. <Err... such cloudiness is often symptomatic of Amyloodinium, aka Velvet... very bad> It also covers the front of his body and recently five or six spots turned up on each eye. Initially I thought they were air bubbles because they didn't always seem to be in the same spots and he eats really well, doesn't scratch against rocks, and is not shy. He has been developing the spots for about a month now <Oh! Then this is something else. Velvet would have killed all your fishes w/in hours to days> and I have hesitated to treat him for fear of killing him with the treatment when I wasn't sure he was sick. <You are wise here... Perhaps the root cause is environmental... not pathogenic> When the spots turned up on his eyes and didn't go away after I turned off my skimmer I decided they weren't air bubbles and he must have something. I removed him from my main tank, gave him a freshwater dip with Methylene blue and put him in a quarantine. The spots are very small and I can't tell what color they are except to say they aren't white. My water quality is good (0 ammonia, 15 ppm Nitrates) and everything is consistent in my tank except sometimes the fish only get fed once a day. No other fish show signs of illness. Do you think this is a parasite? fungus? <I do think this Forcipiger may be infested with subcutaneous worms of some sort or perhaps Sporozoans...> Should I treat with copper? dips? <Mmm, none of these> When treating with copper should I remove my bio wheel from the quarantine tank and put it in the sump of my main tank to avoid killing off the good bacteria during treatment? Thanks, Brendon <I would first try a vermifuge... See WWM re: http://wetwebmedia.com/vermifugefaqs.htm and in series (after the above) an anti-Protozoal (likely Metronidazole/Flagyl) administered through foods/feeding. Bob Fenner>

Shrimp goby pair quarantine... Actually, Disease, part. Protozoan ID, trtmt.   8/17/08 Hello to all and thank you for being able to ask questions, <I as well> it is greatly appreciated. I am in need of some guidance and direction as to what is the best way to address my current situation. My tank came down with what I now believe was Brooklynella. <Mmmm, not likely> In one day I thought I lost all fish. <Then no> Symptoms were cloudy eyes, peeling skin and 2 dead fish clown and pseudo. I also had a yellow watchman goby pistol shrimp pair which I had assumed perished as well because I had not seen them in a while. I was going to let the tank go fallow following directions listed on your site. Then one day I put a very small amount of frozen food in the tank and out comes the goby and shrimp looking very healthy. So my question is now what do I do? <Likely nothing> Im thinking of dismantling the tank to catch the goby and shrimp and place them in a 10G quarantine tank. <... for what reason/s?> Should I catch both or just the fish? If just the fish will they still pair off later after reintroduction? Also what should I use to treat the yellow watchman goby and how often since I see no signs of disease on him? <I would do none of the above> I was planning on using a sponge from my tank and also water from the main tank into the quarantine, but would it be better to not use the water from the main tank since the disease is in the water from the main tank? I would really like to keep the goby paired up with the shrimp but since I will most likely be medicating the fish I am unclear as to what to do? If you recommend a dip and then placing in quarantine how would I know if it worked since I don't see any signs of disease on him and its been 10 days now since I lost the other 2 fish? Thanks Steve Tank size is 24 gallons water quality ph 8.2 ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate <5 specific gravity 1.025 refugium in the process of being installed 20% water changes weekly 22 lbs live rock 1/2 in sand various zoos 1 blue xenia <Mmm... let's start a bit toward the beginning here... W/o knowing... what the actual cause of loss was here I would not "jump" to conclusions... was this a protozoan infestation? Not definitively... NOT Brooklynellosis I assure you. I would leave all as they are presently... proceed cautiously in introducing new fish livestock (see WWM re... quarantining, assuring the initial health of new introductions). Bob Fenner>

Help! Unidentifiable Disease on my fish! System...   1/16/08 Hi There, I need your help and fast. I have a 260 gal tank with a foxy face, Hawkfish, 2 dwarf colored beauties, <Centropyge?> a saddle back clown, and 1 candy stripe shrimp. My boyfriend have recently acquired this 7 year old happy tank from his father. I had been doing lots of research in reef aquariums and gladly took it off his hands. We have both a protein skimmer and the "bio ball" type filters. 2 VHO fluorescent lights and 1 actinic.... I know we could stand more lighting we're purchasing some metal halides in the upcoming month. Anyway about 4 days ago we bought our first anemone a smaller rose BTA. I've read that all fish and inverts are to be quarantined for a min of 3 weeks. I asked my LFS before the purchase how long they isolate their fish / inverts, and how long do the recommend for my new BTA. the girls said that they have already iso'ed all their specimens before being brought out on the floor. Then told me not to iso off the BTA b/c you should never do this to any invert. This was the opposite from everything that I have read....... I followed what she said and now I fear I'm paying the price. The BTA seems happy eating well moved around a bit but seems to have found Our foxy today (3 days later) seems to have a few black spots on it ..... <Paravortex?> So I think ok it's black ich. Only on the top on the fish and on some of the fins there are larger white bumps ... at first I thought maybe this is some sort of parasite that's latched on... pretty sure it's not bacterial. He also seems to have a few scratches on both of his sides where I'm guessing that he was trying to rub these little buggers off. I google up black and white spots and foxy seems to have symptoms of both black and white ich. I don't know if that is possible <Oh yes... is> but it doesn't seem too unreasonable. I started to prepare my fresh water for a dip <... but replacing the fish/es back in the infested system?> and after the water heated up (about 2 hours or so) I came back and all the larger white lumps are gone. The smaller black dots are barely visible and now his tail fin is covered in a fine mucusy substance. He's hiding in the rocks a bit more than usual but is still eating fine not acting noticeably lethargic. I can't find anything to match these symptoms online. What the heck is this and how should I treat it? Remove the BTA to the hospital tank? Or only Foxy? Laurel <... all the fishes need to be removed, treated elsewhere... or a decision made to "weather" the infested system... Please, when you have time, and soon... start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/parasittkfaq2.htm the linked files above, and where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

"Thing" on Firefish I just purchased a firefish on Sunday, and yesterday, Monday, I noticed that he has something coming out of a hole behind his pectoral fin. The hole is in his "armpit" and there is not one on the other side. This thing is a yellow-white curlicue that comes out, and looks like it goes back into the hole it came out of. It is maybe 1/2 cm long. By curlicue I mean kinda like wood shaving, or piece of sawdust. He is having no problems swimming or eating. This thing doesn't seem to be bothering him at all, but I would like to know what it is and if I can do anything to make it go away. (The way it is shaped, I think it may be a piece of intestine, maybe?) Thank you! <Mmm, my guess is that this is an external parasite... a copepod likely (do put the terms "copepod fish parasite" in Google and look at the "images"... Can be excised with forceps likely... and careful holding while in a net... Bob Fenner> Parasitic Problem...Or??? Hi to you all, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!> You all helped me out quite a bit when I first started my tank 4 years ago. <Glad to hear that!> The tank has been pretty good. Some wonderful successes and some sad failures, some fish jumping out and some corals just not happy, many other fish I have had for years and corals have been thriving for years.  <All part of the joy of the hobby.> Love learning all this. But now of course, the problem. Got some new Clownfish, the others slept near the overflow and Walla.... gone. Jumpers, the little dears. So now I have a cover for the tank and two new clowns quarantined for 3 weeks, they looked happy and fabulous.  <Glad to hear about the use of quarantine!> Put them in the display tank with a Sailfin Tang and Yellow-tailed damsel and the corals and rock and all that. Next day spots, but really small - like so small that we had to get the magnifying glass to see them. <Hmm...potential problem...?> Freaked out, scooped them out of the display tank and wrung my hands. Next day not a spot anywhere. Next week still no spots (my husband sort of accused me of ick phobia). <That's a good sign> Put them back in the display tank, all is well. Two days later and Tang has spots, but try as I might, I find it hard to say that they look like salt. They are white and then some of them are sort of dark grey. He is fine (they all seem well) and I begin reading about catching Tangs. I have to wait for the weekend to catch them when I have the ability to pump out the water in the tank and get them and put them all, and I know ALL, into the quarantine tank. <Yep- If you suspect a parasitic illness, "fallowing" the tank is really a smart idea, as it will interrupt the life cycle of the causative protozoa...> Only guess what? Nobody has any spots on them at all anymore. I have read about the cycle and I get it, but when ick is swimming in the water and searching for a host does it just go on one fish and leave all the others? <Interesting though, but not too likely. The protozoa enter a phase where they will attach to a suitable substrate for a period of time before they emerge again...in potentially greater numbers.> Do they all fall off again, at once, from the host fish and appear absent from the tank? <Well, they will follow a definite life cycle.> I tried to find some info on the web site with out bothering you guys but alas the weekend approaches and although all the fish look absolutely fine. I am wondering if I should give up the whole darn day to try to get the fish out of the tank or can I wait and see if the spots come back. <Hmm...tough call. I have become very conservative over the years, and generally will move the fish when I have a good suspicion that a parasitic illness is a possibility.> And is there anything else that could be making spots that is not Ich or Velvet or a parasite? <Hard to say. It is possible that there could be some kind of trauma to the skin, but in all likelihood, you're looking at a possible parasitic illness here. I'd operate under that assumption.> Are you thinking to yourselves...that nut!!!?? <Nope- I hope that you're not thinking that about ME! LOL> I hope not....Thank you once again for being here..  <Glad to be here for you. Take a conservative approach, watch the fish carefully, and be prepared to spring into action should it become necessary. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

A " Lumpy" Griffiths Angel Hi <Hello> I have a question for you, which I think I know the answer to......But I need to ask. <Okay> In my store, I have many large reef display tanks.  One of these is a 400 Gallon, very well stocked reef.  I only have a few fish in there.  a small yellow tang, medium purple, a combfish, a fourline red sea wrasse, a multicolour angel, medium Black Tang, and a 3.5"  Griffiths. I love the Griffiths, and I got a few with my last shipment from Hawaii. <Mmm, you mean "through" Hawai'i... not found here> I chose one to keep, isolated him for 2 weeks, then put him in the tank....everything went well for a few days, but now he appears to be a bit lumpy....like he has a dozen or so small bumps on each side of him....he eats readily, and I feed Live Brine, and some Tetra marine pellets 3 times a day, but in small quantities.  In fact, he seems to be first to the food. Question....what is it?,  and if I soak a few pellets for a moment in the "yellow-green" water....and almost hand feed him......will these antibiotics kill my reef in such small doses? <Not likely> I know you won't want to put this on your site as it might encourage a lot of people to do the same, with disastrous results. <We post all> My system has a 4 inch DSB,  200kgs of quality Live rock, and a heavy duty H&S skimmer, as well as a trickle filter and a little activated carbon.  I use natural sea water which I  UV, skim and O3 before lab testing and adding to the systems Normally I wouldn't worry too much about the fish, as most seem to heal very quickly in this tank,  but I'm sort of attached to this guy regards JD <I too like this genus of Angels... What yours is exhibiting is very likely some sort of worm infestation... subdermal... nematodes, maybe acanthocephalans... Not treatable, not likely "too" debilitating, not catching. Bob Fenner> Freshwater dip I just freshwater dipped my flame angel after about five days of worsening cloudy-eye and fin rot... There were oval, thin, opaque things in the dip water. I thought they were scales that were knocked off at first, but do you think they could be flatworms or something?  <They could be scales but they might also be flukes. You can use Praziquantel. It works great and only stays in the water three to five days.>  My fish was scratching himself for a week or so... now in QT after the dip. If they are parasites, are they contagious?  <Yes they are very contagious.>  How to control them? Thanks guys. A second opinion is often all it takes to keep us from being ignorant...  <Good luck, MacL>

Do White "Hairs" Indicate a Parasite? 4/9/04  BACKGROUND  - Friend broke down tank and gave me a 4" blue tang - The tang has pale pits all over its head suggesting lateral line disease, though the line looks fine <natural sunlight and improved feeding will improve this>  - Tail is frayed and oddly bumpy near its base  - These symptoms have remained constant for 6 months  <hmmm... does not sound likely pathogenic for lasting this long without getting better/worse>  - Behavior completely normal for a blue tang (healthy swimming, appetite, etc)  - I have provided no treatment  - Goby and Banggai Cardinal tankmates exhibit no signs of illness  NEW SYMPTOM  - I just noticed a series of white "hairs" sticking out from his back, directly below the dorsal fin.  <odd>  - These bristles are parallel to each, angled from front to back (like hair blowing in the wind), the thickness of thread, and number about 10.  QUESTIONS  1. What's wrong with this fish?  <not sure by the text description... a clear photo would help. Else do consult a good manual like Untergasser's Handbook of Fish diseases (TFH)>  2. What should I do to help him?  <ID the symptom first before any move or treatment. Get your Quarantine tank ready if needed if its not still running>  Thanks in advance for any relevant info/advice.  - David  <I see that you are form Boston... do check out the excellent local club: The Boston Reefers. They have their own website (slips me now... do a keyword search) and they have a forum on reefcentral.com They are also hosting the national conference this year in September.. an event not to be missed! Anthony>

Moorish Idol Woes / Parasites (7/22/04) I was hoping you could help me with a disease diagnosis and treatment. I recently purchased a Moorish Idol 3 weeks ago. He has been eating everything I give him and has been doing fine. <Ostensibly, anyway.> Until today he has developed small "dusty'" white powdered spots over his body. It does not look grainy or sandy like ich. <Ich doesn't necessarily look that coarse. Velvet tends to be powdery, perhaps this is it.> It looks like it  is under his skin, nearest his gills and eyes. He is still eating normally and swimming around as normal, maybe a little faster than normal. There does not seem to be any gasping or clamped fins. <Good signs all.> He is the only tank member that looks like this. <I'd get him out of there and into a hospital tank for treatment.> He also has developed one cloudy eye. <May be bacterial infection.> It is slightly enlarged and grayish in color. <Search "Popeye" on WWM for info.> Have treated with Epsom salt but has not helped. All help is welcome. Thanks <This certainly sounds parasitic. In your shoes, I'd get him into a hospital tank for treatment. Read the parasite articles/FAQs for options. Steve Allen.>

Amyloodiniumiasis or Brooklynellosis or neither! Hi,   I just finished reading this month's issue of "Conscientious Aquarist" magazine. Awesome. One more reason to surf the web at work! << I enjoy it as well. >>    I have a 72 gallon tank with 6 shrimp, 1 hermit crab, 1 Banggai cardinal, 1 Ocellaris Clown and 1 Orchid Dottyback -in that pecking order! Almost everyday the Dottyback has a patch of mucous on it's surface, body or fin, that is about 1mm by 1mm. << This wouldn't worry me. >> It moves around day to day and even morning to evening. All fish were quarantined -3 weeks for the cardinal and about 2 weeks for the other two. Nothing showed up then. The Dottyback has been in the display for over 6 weeks now and has been showing these symptoms for the past 4 or 5 weeks. << If he swims well, and eats, I say don't worry. >>   This isn't ich, as I've dealt with ich before when it wiped out everything in my tank twice!!! Upon reading WWM, these symptoms appear to be Amyloodiniumiasis or Brooklynellosis, except for the fact that the fish is behaving fine and has been for over a month -knock on wood! Could this just be damage from scraping against rocks and decor -he is a pretty jittery fish! << Usually fish will scrape and rub against rocks to rub things off of them. >> Tank had been set up for 11 months now. The shrimp have been there since day one, crab since December, cardinal since April, clown since mid-may and the dotty back since 5/28. No additions since then. Salinity -1.025 Nitrates -don't register on test kits... Ph -8.0 -slowly increasing it to 8.2 with Seachem Marine Buffer Temp -78.8F just before lights out to 78.1F early morning -consistent everyday. 20% water change 3 times a month. Should I be concerned? Every time I move a fish to the hospital tank for treatment I end up killing it, so that's my last option. << Well here is what I would do.  I would buy a tank raised cleaner goby, and maybe a cleaner shrimp.  If it is a parasite problem they can really help.  I wouldn't go with the hospital tank, unless you have to.  As long as the fish is out swimming and eating, I wouldn't be too worried. >> Thank You! Narayan <<  Blundell  >>

Possible Parasitic Problem? Hi There, <Hey! Scott F. here today!> I recently purchased a pair of clowns (well two days ago actually) the one has adapted really well and is diving around the place however the other looks very lethargic and is breathing heavily.  Tests all show OK. <I assume that means no detectable ammonia, nitrite> I appreciate that other posts ask similar questions however there is no slime on the fish nor white spots.  He hangs in his hosting coral all day and hasn't fed on two occasion (but nor has the other clown.)  Is this really bad? <Well, it's hard to be sure. Sometimes, a fish can have Amyloodinium ( a virulent parasitic disease) without the other obvious external signs; just lethargy and difficulty in breathing. I'd keep a careful eye on this fish, and be prepared to take aggressive action if it becomes necessary. If you've eliminated the possibility of environmental problems, focus on the possibility of parasitic illness. Use the resources that we have here on WWM on parasitic diseases, and feel free to ask questions again if we are able to help you out. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Thanks in advance. Chris I have a 40 gallon Chromis tank with an AquaMedic 2000 P/S, 2 powerheads. Tank is 10 weeks old; I have three shrimps, 10 snails, 10 hermit crabs, 1 lobster, and 35 lbs of live rock. The only fish are the two clowns. Calcium 460, KH 8.3, nitrite, nitrate & ammonia 0, salinity 1.026 temp 26.5 (in the day).

Bummed-Out By His Blenny! Hi <Hello there! Scott F. with you today!> Great site. <Glad that you enjoy it! We're thrilled to bring it to you each day!> I have a 90 gallon reef with 90 lbs of LR. I have had a lawnmower blenny in the tank for approximately 9 months. All parameter on the tank are great a/n/n all 0. Everything in the tank is thriving except my blenny. He eats all day mostly micro algae and will take a few bites a day of what I throw in for the rest of the fish. By the end of the day is stomach is nice and full. But come morning its completely empty.  I mean empty, sunken in. He seems to be slowly deteriorating away?? <Not good...> I don't understand why?? Is there some type of a bacterial infection or something that could be causing this?? <It is possible that an internal parasite of some sort is at work here> Is this an indication of cyanide?? <Not in my opinion...If it were cyanide, the fish would generally expire shortly after eating its first few meals> Is cyanide collection commonly used on these?? <Not to my knowledge> He grazes all day on the micro algae so I'm pretty sure, theoretically he is getting plenty of food. And, like I said by the end of the day he looks slightly plump. <At least he is eating...A good thing!> This is my favorite fish by far, and I don't want to lose him............. Thank you for any help or suggestions.  Matt <Well, Matt- I'm going to operate on the assumption (gulp) that we are looking at some form of internal parasite here. There are a number of over-the-counter fish meds to address this. Sometimes, the cure is more damaging than the illness, however. I'd search on some of the e-tailers for a medicated antiparasitic food, and hope for the best. Otherwise, maintain excellent water conditions and keep on top of things in his tank. With a little TLC, he can pull through just fine. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Are there parasites that you can see? <Oh yes... some crustacean parasites of fishes and other aquatic animals are quite large for example... some inches long> After close examination on my aquarium I notices these extremely small moving creatures in the water, some walking on the glass. Under a magnifying glass they almost look like shrimp. Could these be harmful or might they just be something that the fish stirred up in the sand? <Likely nothing to worry about. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pericaridanfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Mystery Parasite I've been reading over all the parasite and disease FAQs on your wonderful site and others.  I am still confused on what my little domino might have had.  Two days ago I noticed two large white spots (1 was long and thin and the other was larger than his actual dot and protruded a little) on my domino damsel.  I gave him a fresh water dip and that seemed to revive him a little but things just got worse.  He stopped eating and moving around like normal.  I couldn't get him out of the tank either because he would move enough to hide from me.  I found him dead this morning with most of his coloring wrong.  I am not sure which parasite this is.  I don't think it is ich because there were only two large dots.  I am leaning towards velvet because the spots were large. <Well, the fact that he displayed some raised areas on his body, and did not mention that the fish displayed rapid breathing (classic signs of Marine Velvet) and other signs of distress, I think that it may be some sort of parasitic organism (trematode, etc.). Velvet (Amyloodinium) also manifests itself as a very fine "dusting" of spots (much smaller than you see in ich), and kills rather quickly. Curious enough- yours died rather quickly...> I plan on removing the rest of the rockwork out.. moving the inhabitants into the qt and letting the tank sit for a month.  Should I wait till I see symptoms on my other damsels before I use copper? <Whenever you're dealing with a potential parasitic infection (especially if you even suspect Amyloodinium), removing the fish and letting the tank run fallow is a conservative, prudent move on your part. Better safe than sorry. I would hold off on administering copper or other medications to the fish unless symptoms manifest themselves. And, of course- NEVER treat the display with medication. I think that you are on he right track here!> Thanks so much for your great site. Alex Miller <Really glad that you enjoy it! Sounds like you're learning a lot from this experience- keep up the good work! Regards, Scott F>

Finding The Right Cure Hi guys, <Scott F. your guy tonight!> I have read most everything you have on Gill Flukes. I still need some help:-) <That's why we're here!> My Percula had started breathing rapidly and scraping his gills along the intake tube. The hippo tang is just a baby and he too has been breathing rapidly and scratching as are the Firefish and neon goby. :-( <Not a good sign...Could be flukes...could even be Amyloodinium. Verify carefully!> I have a 30 gallon tank, which has now become the QT tank. <Excellent to have> I tested the water and then had LFS test against my test (water great). I initially treated with copper thinking it was ick then I noticed the breathing. <Well, copper may not be that effective against flukes...there are many different views on that one...> So I call my LFS and they sold me Fluke Tabs and told me to ½ the dose as this stuff is very strong. <Haven't used it personally- but have heard the same!> I still have sand and a few coral skeleton decorative pieces from before I was planning to move everyone to my new 55 gallon reef. Nobody has made it to the 55 as they broke out with this before moving over. <Well, good that you were able to contain it> I come home today treat with the first round of Fluke Tabs around 11:30 AM. I get back from doing 'stuff' to find my clown still at the top (BTW, I have put a huge airstone, an air tube and kept the filter on the back with no carbon to insure lots of oxygen) and my hippo still breathing rapidly, his top fins going a brownish color and he seems to be really struggling. These (Percula and Hippo) two are my most worry as they are still exhibiting all symptoms. <This really is starting to sound like Amyloodinium...> 1. Am I expecting improvement too quickly? <Depending on what you're dealing with, it could take up to a week to 10 days to see improvement...Once you've positively ID'd the disease or parasite, stay the course with the treatment> 2. Is the sand absorbing the meds making them ineffective? <Quite possibly...I always recommend treatment in a tank without substrate, so that medication doesn't bind with the substrate, reducing its effectiveness> 3. What is the hippo's browning of the top fins about? <Hard to say...could be as a result of the illness, or even damage caused by copper> 4. My water temp is around 80 degrees because I have read that when treating for sickness keep tank warmer??? <The thought is that higher temperatures speed up the life cycle of parasites...> 5. How long do I treat them ? The Fluke Tab box says two treatments should do it, then do a 50% wc after three days of no symptoms? <Follow manufacturer's instructions to the letter, with any medication....> 6. Should I combine with freshwater dip or something? I already have copper and quick cure in the tank along with Fluke Tabs. LFS said this drug cocktail was safe. <I would tend to disagree...I don't like to mix different medications....Maybe the difficulty that the fish are experiencing is a result of this mixture of meds, not disease symptoms, as I originally surmised...Lots of possibilities> If you can answer any or all these inquiries, I would be very grateful. Thanks. Christy Evans <Well, Christy, my thinking is to very carefully ascertain what it is that you're dealing with, then reduce your medication to the one medication best suited for that condition. Freshwater dips may be preferable to a medication "cocktail"....Not a cure all, but a good supplement. Hang in there...stay the course. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Finding The Right Cure...And The Right Disease! Hi Scott, <Hey there again!> I think your diagnosis was more accurate when you said that it sounded like Amyloodinium than flukes. <I was afraid that it would...> We lost three fish through what I believe was a misdiagnosis and medication toxicity. I read up on Amyloodinium and it said that it lives in the water more so than the fish. SO we have broken down our 30 gal HT, washed it and are currently reconstructing it. <Good move on your part> We have fresh water dipped (ten min each) all the survivors. Four fish total: 1 DSB Butterfly, two Firefish (boy, their sturdy), and a neon Goby, and placed them into the new 55 gallon reef that was ready before this broke out. <I would have held them in the hospital tank for a while, but if they seem to be healthy, we can accept that!> Should I find that I have another outbreak of this what is the best method of treatment (fish and tank). Now that we have a reef set-up the stakes are higher when it comes to outbreaks. :) <The best method, IMO, is to remove all fishes (even the seemingly healthy ones) and place them in a hospital tank for treatment with a commercial copper sulphate product, per manufacturer's instructions. Meanwhile, the main tank will remain "fallow", without fishes, for about a month...This will help dramatically reduce the parasite population in the display tank, and you won't need to use any medications in the display...> We have also decided to wait two weeks or so before replacing the ones we lost to insure the others are thriving and eating and under no stress. <Don't forget a full 3-4 week quarantine on every new fish...it's just gotta be a mandatory part of your new fish "protocol"!> Thoughts??? Thanks Again Christy Evans <I think that you've got the basic idea...just remember to diagnose very carefully before medicating in the future, treat in a separate tank, and quarantine all new arrivals...That's the best that you can do! Keep learning and growing in the hobby! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> David W. Evans

One Fish, Two Fish...Or, Is That-"Two Fishes"? (Obscure Trivia For Fish Nerds) Hi Scott, thanks for explanations! You guys are awesome! <as always- it's so much fun to be of assistance!> Some follow-ups down below: I'm still not sure if my fish have Ich or Velvet... is there a simple way to distinguish the two? What about the 'looks'  of it? Both have white dots? Same color? Size? Number? <Amyloodinium (Velvet) looks like a fine "dusting" of whitish dots, as opposed to ich, which displays salt-grain sized dots...Both appear whitish to clear in color> As far as dosages of copper based medications (CopperSafe and Cupramine) are concerned-that's what puzzles me... how can one be 1.5 -2.0ppm while the other same at0.5 ? Aren't they both chelated? <Well, Coppersafe is chelated, and Cupramine is not...They are formulated at different concentrations...> Which one do you like better and is faster acting: CopperSafe of Cupramine (despite the price difference)? <I've used both successfully. I find myself using CopperSafe more often...Both are excellent products, IMO> Would you adjust the temperature or drop the salinity along with the copper treatment? <I suppose that you could raise the temperature a bit- maybe to about 82 degrees F- as this might help speed up the life cycle of the parasites a bit, but I'd keep oxygen levels high, with good aeration. I would not manipulate the specific gravity, however- too much added stress, IMO> Finally, my CopperSafe came with no booklet... when I dose with 5ml/4gallons,what do I get: 1.5ppm? 2ppm? Any idea? <Well, CopperSafe administered at the recommended dose of one teaspoon to 4 gallons will yield a concentration of 1.5ppm-2.0ppm> Water Changes: I'm not planning on any water changes during that time :-) Should I ? <I highly recommend regular water changes- even in a treatment tank...Fish (even sick ones) still give off metabolic waste, which must be dealt with. High water quality is super important, particularly when you have fishes that may have damaged gills, such as those infected with Amyloodinium or ich> I included a cycled filter for biofiltration in the bare bottom tank and I hope that neither CopperSafe or Cupramine will affect the bio-filtration as the products claim. BTW, some people say that copper will wipe out the bio filtration, yet both of the manufacturers state that they are bio-filtration safe... puzzling... <Well, speaking from personal experience- I can honestly state that I've never had a problem with these products> Out of curiosity.. for instance, if you have both Ich and Clownfish disease... I'm looking into it. I suppose that formaldehyde (reducing agent?) could reduce the chelated copper to its ionic form? <Hmm...I don't know the chemical reactions that would take place for this to occur...and frankly- who cares? (LOL!). Just don't mix these medications together...Use one or the other!> BTW, is Clownfish disease only affecting clownfish or other fish as well... <"Clownfish Disease" (Brooklynella), is caused by a protozoan. It's usually associated with (imported) clownfish, but can occur in other fishes, as well> And final, most puzzling question... grammatically correct, plural from fish, is it 'fish' or 'fishes' ? So far I have 50/50  responses :-) <Well, I researched this for you...here's the official "deal" on this issue: "Fish" can mean a single individual, and can also describe a group of individuals of the same species. When you are talking about a number of individuals belonging to more than one species, the correct term is "fishes". Example: "Dude, those Centropyge hotumatua are expensive fish!"...or, "The coolest fishes are pygmy angels"... Alright- enough of this grammar crap- my head is gonna explode here!> Cheers, Luke <Yep- time for a drink, here! Bottoms up- Scott F>

- Random Spots - <Good morning, JasonC here...> Dear WWM Crew, am in need of your advice again.  I have a 240 gallon with about 250 lbs. live rock, currently holds a 9" Harlequin Tusk and  11" Golden Puffer.  These fish appear to be in extreme health, brilliant colors, they eat extremely well, clear eyes, normal respiration. I am concerned because they occasionally show small white spots on their pectoral and tail fins, the spots come and go, the spots do not bother the fish, their is no scratching or darting. <This isn't really abnormal and I have made this same observation myself. What the spots are specifically is hard to be certain - quite likely a protozoan similar to ich but not ich. In any case, is mostly harmless - fish in good health show these spots from time to time, but never seem affected by them or become overwhelmed. If you didn't quarantine and/or dip these fish before you put them in your tank, then they are the most likely source, although it could have also ridden in on the live rock.> Before these fish were added to the tank, the tank with the live rock was empty for six weeks to insure optimum health of the tank before adding my expensive prized animals.  I would appreciate anything you have to offer as I am concerned about adding any other fish to this tank.  I have a 12" Koran Angel in QT currently, and am a little nervous about adding this beautiful fish. <Well, good plan to have the quarantine going... I think as long as the angel is doing well, and not a bundle of stress it will acclimate well to the new tank. You may observe the same spots, but I doubt they will come to anything serious. Do keep a watchful eye on things.> Sincerely appreciate your time and your help.  Thank You,  Jen Marshall <Cheers, J -- >

Striking Back At Disease! I have one butterfly left who is laying upside down on the bottom breathing heaving. Yesterday the smaller of the two had cloudy eyes and I found dead this morning. The bigger one had a little bit of cloudiness but now doesn't look good. I have been fighting Ick for about a week and a half. <Rapid breathing and the cloudy appearance seem to be signs of Amyloodinium, a far more virulent and fast-moving disease than ich. Hard to be 1005 certain from here-but may be the culprit. Check the FAQs on this disease on the wetwebmedia.com site to confirm> I also have a clown tang and a flame angel cleaner wrasse and shrimp. Do you think this is the Ich that is getting them or something else? <As above- I think it might be Amyloodinium...> Is there something I can do to save this guy. Should I move him to quarantine and medicate with anything. <Definitely should be moved to a hospital tank immediately and treated with a copper sulphate preparation, per manufacturer's instructions. Fortunately (bad term, I know), both Cryptocaryon (marine ich) and Amyloodinium can be treated with copper sulphate. I really think that you should move all of the fishes from this aquarium into the hospital tank for observation and/or treatment as needed. Whatever disease it is- it's in your main system, and radical steps must be taken to eliminate it. I'd let the tank run without fishes for at least a month, which will substantially reduce the parasite population (it will likely "crash" for lack of fish hosts). Perform regular tank maintenance (i.e.; water changes, etc) during this time. After the "fallow" period, you can re-introduce your healthy fish back into their tank. Although the parasite population cannot be 100% eliminated, you'll substantially reduce the population to a level that healthy fishes should be able to resist> I have left them in there tank because they all had the disease and was trying to use kick ick to fix the and doesn't seem like it has done anything. <Yep- I don't really have much nice to say about that stuff. Treating the main aquarium is never a good idea, IMO. Just take decisive action, observe your fishes closely-monitor the copper level in the treatment tank with a reliable test kit, and stay on top of things...With patience, you'll beat this disease! Hang in there!>   Thanks for your help. Thanks, Ian Roff <Good luck, Ian. Let's hope that things turn out okay! Regards, Scott F>

I have a powder brown tang which has picked up a quarter of an inch long light brown crustacean on its anal fin. The bug looks kind of like a terrestrial rolly poly or pill bug. Also this thing seems to be pinching the fin. I already have a cleaner wrasse and shrimp. Do you know what this thing is and if and how I should get rid of it?  I bought your book this weekend and there the bug was right on page 148.  Also I have a white faced tang and I now feel pretty bad about buying that cleaner wrasse. Anyway the copepod disappeared after about 8 hours so I assume the cleaners got it. I am glad I bought your book. It answered a lot of questions and gave me a lot of ideas. Thanks for your time and Ill investigate further before submitting a question. Everett West >> Yes, this is a parasitic isopod... an aquatic type of rolly poly... and it is best to remove it by catching the fish and prising it off with a stout tweezers... Get ready and at the same time, daub a little mercurochrome or Merthiolate on the remaining sore with a "q-tip"... Bob Fenner

Disease/Parasite? Hi Bob, I was hoping you could diagnose a disease or parasite. I have 2 large 300 Gallon Tanks and I recently purchased a Hawaiian NASO tank for one of them. He is roughly 6 inches in length and currently living in a 20 Gallon Quarantine Tank. Upon entry into a Quarantine tank, I gave him a 10 minute freshwater, Methylene Blue bath. 2 days later I noticed 5 small pimples about 1mm in diameter located from his head, down to the base of his tail, along the top part of the body. In the next 2 days, the pimple on his head seemed to open up and a small white protrusion appeared to be coming out of it. Additionally, the other 4 pimples seemed to be getting bigger and heading towards the same direction. At this time, I noticed the fish was darting around the tank so I took him out for a freshwater formaldehyde bath. Since then, he's been acting much calmer. The protrusion from the head disappeared right after bath, leaving a small hole so I'm assuming that this is some type of parasitic problem.  <Mmm, maybe a parasite... if so, the most likely "super group" involved is a type of worm... likely "not catching" to your other livestock... would place this specimen into one of your large tanks, just going through another pH adjusted aerated freshwater dip en route> I can't figure out exactly what he has from the various FAQs from your WetWebMedia (a great site indeed!), so I was wondering if you had any ideas on cause and treatment of this fish's problem. <No treatment advised> Should I use copper? Or since these appear to be internal, would copper be effective?  <Not effective, you are correct, on internal complaints> Also, aside from this problem, he appears healthy, so do you believe him to be a threat to the rest of my stock in the display tanks? <No, not a threat> The water quality in the main tanks is far more stable and there is a cleaner shrimp to possibly assist in helping the fishes immune system get a hold of the problem. <Yes, a good idea.> Thanks in advance for your advise! Jeff
<Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Possible parasitic problem Hi Bob. I have recently had some issues with my tank. I have lost 2 Gramma loreto's in the past year. The last one got some sort of parasitic infection (dashing against rocks and obvious white spots; looked a lot like Ich) and finally got to the point where I had to put him down. I gave him 2 or 3 freshwater dips, and it appeared as though the spots went away, but they came back very soon thereafter. I did NOT quarantine him (not quite set up for that at this point; and to make matters worse, I'll be going on a 2 week hiatus in another 2 weeks - not sure if I have enough time to treat my current fish and get him back in the main tank before we leave (getting someone to fish-sit is one thing (HARD), but having them attend to the needs of 2 tanks will be next to (if not) impossible for us). <Hmm, the Royal Grammas the last couple of years have not "come in" in any good condition, 'excepting the ones from Brazil...> Anyway, I picked up another one yesterday, dipped him and he seemed to acclimate to the tank rather well. Today, however, he is dashing on the rocks, just as the other did. <Not a good sign... have heard various theories on the species low acclimation, survival rates... poor decompression, use of Quinaldine (real anesthetic, but still enhanced mortality)...> I'm not sure what to think - all my other fish look GREAT. Why would this disease pick on the grammas? <Don't think this is a parasitic or infectious disease... but some subsequent disorder from collection, handling stress...>  Anyway, if you have a down-and-dirty suggestion (given the time problem) I'd really appreciate hearing it. I am prepared to quarantine him in a 10 gallon tank w/ an aqua clear mini and heater if need be. <Please take a read through the marine index pieces on Acclimation, Quarantine, Dips/Baths... stored on our site: Home Page ... may be some input there of use, at least consolation.> Please advise. As always, your feedback is appreciated. Oh, while we're at it, what do you think about those trace mineral blocks? Even with 20% water changes every month, my levels get low (calcium, KH). <They're definitely better than nothing... and way often less toxic than the Kalkwasser route so many folks fall into... I have used them, and we make our own sorts of "delivery mechanisms" out of similar materials for our use (a small, non-commercial coral farm here> TIA, Bruce >> <Be chatting my friend, Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible parasitic problem Bob, Went to the web site, didn't see much on acclimation that applied (Methylene blue in high concentrations (a squirt versus a few drops) has been my weapon of choice...). <Mine too... and a worry/bother that the materials aren't more intuitively accessible.> The Gramma definitely has external parasites of some sort (spots on the forehead, as did my last fish). He is still dashing and I am wondering if a dip/copper treatment would be in order. <Would hold off, lest you can really determine that this is a parasitic problem... the/a treatment might well be worse than the current problem.> The last Gramma I had was in my tank for about 6 months before he developed these symptoms. It was not immediate so I don't think your hypothesis about stocking stresses would apply. <Sounds more like an "environmental disease..." would look to your supplementation, foods/feeding/nutrition practices.... and try the default (for me) practice of vigorous live rock culture... maybe even some starting material from the tropical west Atlantic...> This is really starting to bum me out... Your thoughts? Maybe some parasite that hangs out in the rocks? (I'm reaching here...) ???? Bruce >> <Don't reach, unless it's for a microscope and some help locally by someone who knows more/different about such matters... Do you have exposure to such? Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible parasitic problem The Gramma definitely has external parasites of some sort (spots on the forehead, as did my last fish). He is still dashing and I am wondering if a dip/copper treatment would be in order. <Would hold off, lest you can really determine that this is a parasitic problem... the/a treatment might well be worse than the current problem.> The last Gramma I had was in my tank for about 6 months before he developed these symptoms. It was not immediate so I don't think your hypothesis about stocking stresses would apply. <Sounds more like an "environmental disease..." would look to your  supplementation, foods/feeding/nutrition practices....  I have recently began using Combi-San (about the same time this all started too, maybe?) and Selcon. I've cut back on them both because of algae problems (the long green stringy stuff), although I DO still use them. Also Phytoplankton (Kent) for the inverts. Cut back on that, too (again, algae). Food is NORMALLY OSI marine flakes. Sometimes brine, rinsed and soaked in fresh water for at least 5-10 minutes. This 2-3 times per month (I find my star corals need to be fed with target feedings of brine...). Occasionally frozen foods (formula one). I figure I have at LEAST 100 lbs of rock in my 85. I also have (BTW) a sump with 24X7 lighting with some Caulerpa (no room in the cabinet/power strips for a timer... Still working on it). PH is about 8.3, haven't checked the salinity in a while, but last I checked it was 1.024. Hard to keep constant with all the evaporation brought on by my cooling methods.... Calcium/others are lower than I would like, but still (what I would believe to be, at least) acceptable. Not really any that I can trust farther than I could throw them, no. And now?... I think I'm gonna make an effort to prepare the quarantine tank tonight, maybe catch him tomorrow night and isolate him so I can keep a better eye on him. Any other thoughts? And, oh, thanks for the prompt replies. Very nice when time is an issue... Bruce >> <If you can catch the specimen, would take care to provide shelter (even pvc parts) in quarantine... and look for Grammas out of Brazil for now... Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible parasitic problem I will go with the quarantine route, hopefully he will be in the tank tomorrow night. So you think I should try some treatment method for him? It sounds as if you really aren't too fond of copper, so how would you suggest I proceed? Thanks. >> <Am actually a HUGE fan of copper... pls just take a look at the med. parts of our site... but Grammas, esp. ones in trouble already are easily pushed over the edge with stock Cu++ treatments... would do a smear prep. and look under a scope ahead of any dosing.... in the meanwhile utilize environmental manipulation (lowered spg., elevated temp.) to do about as much good as can be done. Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible parasitic problem Call it denial, but this evening the lesions are almost invisible. I suspect that they were trauma from being nipped by the other fish. <Ah, as I suspect/ed... not really an infectious or parasitic disease, but something environmental...> I had understood that CopperSafe was CuSO4 and required an ionic (free) Cu test kit. <Hmm, perhaps my memory is even faultier than I remember (!), but isn't copper sulfate in CopperSafe a chelated product? Is this the Aq. Systems product? Is it just pentahydrate and citric acid?> The level of 0.15 was the level at which my previous fish died...so I am pretty skittish about the accuracy of the test kit. <Don't blame you.> I have a microscope and slides (I am a Family Practice physician). I'm not quite sure what the procedure would be. Do I net the fish and do a skin scraping with the edge of the slide? If so, would you expect to capture the parasite? For the future, are there any good references for fish microbiology? <Yes, and yes. Edward J. Noga, Fish Disease, Diagnosis and Treatment. 1996. Mosby, the world.> I would risk moving them if you think that this is water condition caused.  But I would hate to introduce a lethal infection into the tank. There are other fish there, I just meant that the water quality was sufficient to support the invertebrates. thanks >> <It is indeed a toss up... and you can get a fuller grasp of what is being "in the balance" of consideration in my "Three Factors... " piece stored on our site: Home Page though I suspect such a detailing of initial states of health, suitability of the env., and presence/pathogenicity of disease causing org.s will be "old hat" to you. Bob Fenner>

PARASITE?  Robert, I was told you could help me in trying to diagnosis what type of parasite my fish has. I have a clown trigger that has a brown line that goes from his body (near his top fin) and extends through the top fin. The unusual thing is that there is a brown or tan ball like thing at the end of it. I don't see any specific parasite that I can identify. Just looks like something is running up his top fin with a ball on the end. Do you what parasite/what that might be? Also about 2 weeks ago when I first noticed the thing on his fin, he also had a cloudy eye. The cloudy eye has cleared up, but still has the thing on his fin. He also seems a little sluggish and doesn't maneuver in the tank as good. Something he seems to bump into the coral. He is eating good, and the first two days of his cloudy eye he spent most of the time hiding. Thank-you, Rick <Actually, along with the collateral damage you mention, this sounds more like an "environmental disease", specifically a trauma, rather than a biological/parasitic problem... Knowing how tough this species is (almost always), I would simply try to keep the system optimized and the specimen feeding... Though this could (unlikely) prove to be some sort of crustacean or worm type parasite, you can easily address this down the line... i.e. it should not become overly deleterious as long as the host (your trigger) stays in good shape... Do take a closer look at your system and water chemistry, husbandry protocols... something slipped if this fish had a cloudy eye... maybe just a "bump in the dark", maybe something more insidious. Bob Fenner>

Ich or Something like it? Bob, This is kind of long. I am so sorry to bother you.  <Not a bother. Take your time> I have been reading your site and can't find a problem that is similar to ours. We have a healthy (for the most part or else this email wouldn't be necessary) 75 gallon tank. In our tank we have had a dog-faced puffer for a month now. From day one he has had little white spots on his fins and then they clear up and then the spots look like they are gone and then he has on his body sort of like what a wart would look like on a human in a clump together. <Might actually be viral, viral mediated as well.> Sometimes the white spots are on his eyes and he will close the eye or I will see him trying to scratch himself on the sand or live rock. We have done the RO dips and some days he looks great and some days he just looks terrible! No filmy look to him at all. My heart feels for him. He still eats GOOD, and gets around. Some days he rest a little more than others. But for the most part, our little guy gets around. He also sleeps in the very same cubby hole every time he rests. Do we need to vacuum out his little nest he has?  <No> What is this exactly (these little clumps that look like warts on the body and the white spots on the fins)? <Likely either some sort of protozoan or fluke (trematode) infestation> We have other fish in the tank (lionfish, Huma Huma, wrasse, and eel) none of them appear to have anything. Occasionally the trigger gets white spots on its fins, but is not bothered by it and it goes away the next day. Nothing spreads. We have had this tank set up and complete for five months. Please help. We bought a UV Sterilizer and it should be here in the next couple of days. What do you think about that? Sorry this has been so long. <The UV will help indirectly... and, see below> Thank you for your help. Lord knows we need it! Angie <I would try "boosting" this animals immune system by adding a liquid vitamin and iodide preparation to its food (ten, fifteen minutes ahead of feeding), AND add the same prep. directly to the water once a week, AND sneak in either bits of garlic or one of the prep.s into its foods as well... AND lower the specific gravity of this system down to about 1.017 for a month. All of this should conspire to "tip the scales of health/resistance" in your Puffer (and other fishes) favor. Bob Fenner>

Ick? Parasites? No idea... Hi Bob--- <Howdy> I have a 55 gallon saltwater aquarium with a clown trigger (immature), Heniochus, flame fish, green wrasse, and four damsels (plus a starfish and sea urchin). Everyone peacefully coexists <For now...> , but in the last three days I've noticed very small white spots on both the trigger and the Heniochus. I've seen no scratching, no change in swimming or eating habits, no signs of distress from either. I did a very brief freshwater bath for the trigger (maybe 10-15 seconds...it showed signs of distress almost immediately) which seemed to help a bit, but am concerned since there is still some sign of the spots (they seem to come and go). The spots are probably smaller than a very sharp pencil point and are not significantly raised. <Maybe ich, velvet... perhaps nothing but "stress"> I am running two outside filters as well as an undergravel filter, keep a UV sterilizer running constantly, and occasionally use a protein skimmer. I do regular water changes, and keep a close check on nitrates, etc. Am I better off quarantining the trigger and the Heniochus and treating with copper meds, or am I better off purchasing a cleaner shrimp or two and waiting to see signs of scratching or obvious distress from the affected fish? <The shrimp would likely get eaten. I might try a Gobiosoma Goby: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnrfaqs.htm> This is the first real problem I've encountered since starting my tank about 8 months ago, and would very much appreciate your input. Thank you in advance for your help, and thank you for a wonderful and informative website. <Thank you my friend. Do keep an eye on your livestock, consider beginning environmental manipulation if the cleaner goby doesn't stop the recurring spots. Bob Fenner> All good wishes, Daryl Klopp

Possible ich break out? Hey Bob, Always enjoy reading your website. Got a question for you, I noticed today that there was a small white spot on the dorsal fin of one of my false perculas. It looked almost like a tiny piece of bread crumb, there was a also a similar spot on his right gill side. These spots are fairly tiny, maybe the size of a pencil point or so, but should I immediately remove the fish? Or give him a few days to see if he gets worse. <Hmm, need more info. to give a more substantive response... How long have you had this specimen, what else is in with it, do you have any purposeful cleaner organisms?> He has exhibited no signs of stress and is swimming well, eating... I have for perculas, two fire gobies, a striped damsel, and a cleaner shrimp in the tank (55 gallons). <Ah, here we go.> I have two big powerheads and a prism protein skimmer rated for a 90 gallon tank. All of the other fish seem fine. The only thing I can think of is we had bit a cold snap out here and the temperature dropped about 4 degrees. Is this enough to cause an infection or Ich? Water quality looks good, but I have yet to test PH. <Maybe. I would leave this fish for now... maybe start the environmental changes listed here that others have tried: http://wetwebmedia.com/marparasitcurefaqs.htm If any of this is unclear, incomplete, please do write back. Bob Fenner>

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