FAQs on Marine Parasitic
Related Articles: Marine Parasitic Disease,
Marine Ich: Fighting
The War On Two Fronts, Crustacean Parasitic
Disease, Quarantine, Quarantine of Marine
Related FAQs: Marine Parasitic Disease
1, Parasitic Disease 2, Parasitic Disease 3, Parasitic 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
Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks
2, & FAQs on: Diagnosing
Parasitic Diseases, 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,
& Best Crypt FAQs, Cryptocaryoniasis, Marine
Ich, Marine Velvet Disease Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic
Worms, Crustacean Parasitic
Do you dip/bathe, quarantine incoming livestock?
You should develop and stick to an acclimation protocol... to
avoid much of the world of infectious/parasitic disease.
Quarantine: Quarantine by Bob Fenner, Quarantine Marine Fishes,
Quarantine or Not To Quarantine-That's a Good Question!
by Bob Goemans, Quarantine of
Corals and Invertebrates, by Scott Fellman & FAQs
Invertebrates, & FAQs on: Best FAQs on
Quarantine, Quarantine 1, Quarantine 2, Quarantine 3, Quarantine 4, Quarantine 5, Quarantine 6, Quarantine 7, Quarantine 8, Quarantine 9, Quarantine 10, Quarantine 11, Quarantine 12, Quarantine 13, & FAQs on: Rationale/Use,
Methods, Quarantine Tanks & FAQs on Quarantine Tanks, Quarantine Filtration
& FAQs on: Quarantine
Filtration, Quarantine Maintenance & FAQs on: Quarantine Maintenance/Operation,
Quarantine Feeding & FAQs on: Quarantine Feeding, Quarantine
Dips/Baths by Bob Fenner & FAQs
on: Dips/Baths, Dips/Baths 2, Dips/Baths 3, & FAQs on Dip/Bath:
Rationale/Use, Methods, Tools,
Adjusting pH, Additives, Iodine/ide/ate, Lugol's Use, Methylene Blue, Formalin/Formaldehyde, Dangers Will Robinson, Products,
Methylene Blue & FAQs on: Methylene Blue,
Formalin, Formaldehyde Use & FAQs on:
The More Common Protozoans: (Yes, there are several
Cryptocaryon/White Spot: Prevention, "Causes",
Parasitic Marine Worm Diseases: Etiology/Prevention,
Black Spot, "Black Ich",
Paravortex... Turbellaria... Etiology/Prevention,
Macro Algae Quarantine 3/3/20
If you had to throw an overall number out what would say if the
overall risk of putting red ogo macro algae in a tank without
quarantine and some type of parasite (ick or velvet) getting into
<Where is the Ogo/Gracilaria from? A few co.s culture this, some in
vast quantities, and there is close to zero chance of parasitic,
disease introduction from them. From another hobbyist's tank? Maybe
some chance... I'd isolate the latter for a couple weeks>
Would washing the algae in a separate bucket of water prior
essentially eliminate the risk?
<Washing? Not really useful. Bob Fenner>
Re: Macro Algae Quarantine 3/3/20
Its coming from live Aquaria which I am assuming it would be coming
from Quality Marine.
<Likely so; and highly likely cultured and sold by two outfits in
Hawaii. I WOULD trust immediate use of this red macrophyte
I have a scribbled rabbitfish wont graze on Nori even attached to
the rock. Its everything and grazes on the ogo. I just cant grow it
fast enough to keep up. With how much it eats. It can take down a
pound in a little over a week.
<This genus of algae can be tumble cultured to about double its
biomass every week... DO consider (look... search and read) re if
you'd rather save money on buying it shipped. Bob Fenner>
Re: Macro Algae Quarantine, feeding Nori 3/3/20
Thanks. Will definitely do some reading on better cultivation on the
macro. Any tips on how to get the fish to eat Nori other than
<No... some fishes (and humans) just don't find Nori palatable...
the above water kind even treated w/ flavourings. BobF>
Feeding and Nutrition
I hope all is well. I have been reading quite a bit of literature on
freezing temperatures required to kill parasites. Most sites say that
-20 or -31 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 hours is sufficient. I am still feeding
Hikari brand frozen mysis, Rods food, and PE mysis, as well as tilapia. However,
I'd like to make my own saltwater blend using ingredients from the grocery
store. It sounds fun and healthy! However, I don't want to jeopardize my fish...
I don't have a deep freeze freezer that can reach temperatures of -31 F, so I
thought of another idea. Do you think setting the food in dry ice (-110 F) for a
day would be sufficient to kill single-celled Protozoans, like Cryptocaryon?
Bacteria are not quite as much of a concern, but I have avoided any outbreaks of
ich in this tank and want to continue that trend! I'm finding that Hikari has
not revealed what their "3 step sterilization" process is. This makes me a bit
suspicious that Protozoans might survive it.
It’s all about probabilities. Is a temperature that kills 95% of parasites as
useful as a lower temperature that kills 99% of the parasites? And is either of
them “safe” enough for tropical fish use? Sub-zero Celsius temperatures usually
kill multicellular organisms quickly enough if used for sufficient time, but
eggs are often much more resistant, and as you seem to understand, bacteria even
more resistant. So far as human food handling is concerned, freezing is deemed
sufficient for neutralising seafood parasites but not sufficient for killing
bacteria. Hence, we don’t sterilise food by freezing it.
Provided you’re using foods sold for either human use or animal use, they should
be safe enough. If you worried too much about the (say) 0.05% risk, neither you
nor your tropical fish would eat anything that hadn’t been cooked above
temperature X for Y minutes. (X and Y vary for the type of food being used, but
it’s invariably high enough to denature proteins and so render bacteria
inoperable. Unfortunately even in really hot conditions some bacteria can
survive if not heated for long enough, most notoriously perhaps the bacteria in
rice, which makes reheating cooked rice one of the classic risky foods.)
I think you’re looking for an absolute answer. But when it comes to cold, there
isn’t a set protocol known to kill all pathogens in all foods with 100% safety;
at least, not a practical one you can do at home. Hence freezing food keeps it
safe for weeks or a few months, but doesn’t keep it safe for years or
indefinitely. Contrast that with canning food, which uses heat, and which does
indeed keep food safe for a very, very long time.
Brielle, one last thing. While I’m happy to answer questions, it’s really
helpful if you send them via WetWebMedia. New content is what helps to pay the
Feeding and Nutrition
Hello Bob and Crew!
I was talking to Neale Monks more about the possible safety concerns of
preparing my own fish food recipes. Here is what he said! Feel free to add your
own input. I would love to read what you think:)
<Ah yes; thank you. He (Neale) sent this note to my personal email; and I concur
with what he has stated.
Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Feeding and Nutrition
> Of course, yes, Bob. Thought more useful on/in WWM than sitting o my hard
> Cheers, Neale
<Ah good. Thank you, BobF>
How long for a disease to show up? 3/10/14
I have a question as to how long does it take for a disease such
as brook of velvet to show up on a fish.
<How long from when? What? Oh, I think I understand from your writing
below... These and many other pathogenic diseases can be non-clinically
The reason I ask is I purchased a Cherub Angel and a Tailspot Blenny in
January. They had both been in the LFS for 3 months and 3 weeks,
respectively. I did freshwater dips on both of them when I brought them
home. They were both clean (no flukes). I then commenced the tank
transfer method in the event of ich. I did 4 transfers every 3 days
which equated to
16 days. On the 16th day I moved them into a permanent QT that I've had
set up and is fully cycled. They stayed in that QT for 30 days. I moved
them into the main last night and today the Cherub sort of looks like he
has a sheen to him. His fins are also torn up but I think that is from
fighting with the royal gramma. So my question is Is it possible for
velvet or brook
to lie dormant during the 6 weeks of quarantine or is this just me being
extremely paranoid? Thank you!
<Is possible either the fish/es are/were carriers, or more
likely, that the system itself is infested. Bob Fenner>
Ich and Velvet QT extremes... moving toward wisdom –
I've been reading up on setting up a strict QT tank/s and process but
the more I read, the more I am unsure about how to 100% ensure that Ich
and Velvet, among other diseases, are not transferred into my DT from an
<Ahh; well, Cryptocaryon is often entrenched; constantly living in "sub
clinical" settings; coming out in force if/when the fish stock is
weakened, the environment more favouring them>
I have read many accounts of reefers keeping the DT fallow for the
appropriate number of weeks(72 days I believe), keeping a new fish in
copper(~4 weeks) or hypo, then observation(~2-4 more weeks) for the
appropriate number of weeks only to have Ich resurface at a later date.
<Yes; my long-experience first and second hand concurs w/ your
I know there are many ways to incorrectly complete the above process but
several accounts are from reefers who really seem to know what they are
doing. Anyways, I am wondering about other methods of importing
these parasites into the tank.
<Indeed there are>
I know these parasites will drop to the substrate and can probably
settle and spawn in the LR also. So any new coral, with attached
LR or skeleton, should really be kept in a fallow tank long enough to
break the life cycle correct?
<Yes; or (really) to at least weaken it>
Also, what about anemones? Since they inflate with water and do not
usually have LR attached to them when sold, can the parasites make it
into the anemone as it inflates only to be released into a new tank as
it acclimates and deflates?
<Let me just skip ahead here and state that "anything wet" can transfer
this and other parasites>
I believe that inverts such as shrimp, stars, etc.. are not affected but
can they be carriers for Ich and velvet?
<More the former than latter; but yes>
Should these be kept in a fallow tank for 72 days prior to introducing
to the DT also?
<Not this long... a week or two is about optimal; longer is of
Thank you, as always, for your professional insight
<Glad to share. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich and Velvet QT extremes – 09/9/13
Thank you for the quick response!
So although strict QT practices make a lot of sense and can work in a
lot of instances, we should also have a disease management strategy in
place such as UV or Ozone (can help diminish numbers of free swimming
parasites), low stress environment, highly nutritious diet and hope for
<Ah yes; a "pitch"/presentation I've given over and over... the third
time a few weeks back for the UNE Fish Hlth. Conf. is here:
Mirrors what you've stated. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Ich and Velvet QT extremes – 09/9/13
Thank you again, Bob. I will have a look at the link. It gives me some
comfort knowing that many have kept reefs and fish for long periods of
time even though these parasites can be so difficult to completely
<Yes; unfortunately so many folks have such difficulties that attrition
(of hobbyists AND fish livestock) is a very big deal in our interest.
I've campaigned endlessly for the trade itself to improve practices
(esp. prophylactic dips/baths) that would greatly lessen (though not
eradicate) these parasitic issues...>
<Ah, welcome. B>
Which quarantine procedure do you recommend for a
Halichoeres melanurus? 9/19/10
Hello everyone at Wet Web Media (aka: my favorite site on the
First of all, I just wanted to thank Bob and everyone at WWM for
providing this wonderful forum to educate people regarding the precious
creatures that we bring into our homes.
I've done a search on the quarantining of wrasses, especially
Halichoeres species and specifically Halichoeres melanurus on WWM and
the Internet and I've got lots and lots of conflicting information.
As I read another's query on WWM, Bob suggested that "<A pH
adjusted dechlorinated freshwater with
half the usual dose of formalin, heavy aeration... done in your
presence...>" as the Halichoeres melanurus tend not to fair
well in quarantine. I understand that it is stated clearly...
Here is my question. Since I've learned the dangers of not
quarantining fishes - I have a 55 gallon quarantine tank. I was
planning on using it bare bottom with PVC condo for this wrasse, but
after reading the above. I was thinking that since I need to get more
sand and live rock for my DT and I do want to quarantine "anything
wet", can I do the dip on the melanurus and then keep him by
himself in the tank with the live sand/rock for eight weeks to 12 weeks
watching for illness?
It will definitely be more comfortable for him and if he shows illness,
I have a 20 gallon that I can immediately make into a hospital tank to
treat for illness. What are your thoughts on this?
<Should work... do keep the top covered to prevent jumping>
Another question is more general regarding
Does keeping a fish in a tank that is established with live rock and
sand by itself for a long time equate to "quarantine"?
<Of a sort, yes... Isolation might be a better term>
I've read on WWM that part of the process with quarantine is to
stress the fish somewhat so that any
illness will show itself (I'm not sure I read that right but it
seems that way).
<Some folks endorse this idea, practice>
So, if I have a fish for three years and it is happy, healthy and
growing, showing no signs of illness can I accurately say that this
fish is disease free?
The reason I ask this is that after the battle with C. irritans, I
NEVER NEVER want to risk introducing it into any of my tanks. I have
several tanks and I was wondering that if I moved my fishes from one
established tank to another, am I running any risk (if I've never
seen crypt infection for the past two years)?
<There is always some risk... This, other Protozoans, can reside
on/in hosts unexpressed... for years>
Thank your for your patience with me and taking the time and energy to
answer my questions!
You do not know how much I respect your expertise and guidance!
<And you, BobF>
Re: Goldrim Tang -4/6/10
I have no quarantine tank so I left fish for a week after buying in
<A risky proposition... Unless the store has entirely separate
facilities... NO mixing of water, use of wet-gear... very easy for
contamination/vectoring to occur>
I know I have made a mistake just wondering on best course of
<Okay... so, what will you do now?>
I thought the infestation had exited last night as fish had a few marks
<... cycle... Do you understand the life history of this Protozoan?
Is posted on WWM, elsewhere>
Today he has colour one minute then paler ...back and forth. Also much
livelier and eating better , But is full of white spots again
(re-infestation so soon ?).
<Apparently so. You may well have a mix of cyclicities going on
Maybe just showing up again as colour returns.
Only tank I have is a 5 gallon tank,
<Too small for most anything>
could I move a clarkii, Goldrim ,blue damsel and antennae goby there
temporarily or far too small.
Fish still eating and no visible problems with others.
Still running uv and on second treatment of Oodinex.
<Not likely at all to be effective in a
"main"/"display" tank... for reasons gone over and
over on WWM>
Everything else in tank thriving.
Any advice please as I am lost.
<Let's have you start reading here:
and the linked files above... We'll be chatting re your choices...
Question concerning Live Rock, Protozoan Dis.
There is absolutely no doubt that you guys are the best in business.
The more I appreciate your service, the less it is. Anyways, enough
polishing, lets get to business now.
<Well, all right!>
My SW tank was setup and things were going fine until ich and/or velvet
showed up and many fish died as usually happens. My question concerns
live rock. I tore apart the entire aquarium had removed all the LR I
had and placed in a bucket with an air stone to oxygenate and cause
Since, then I have reset the aquarium once again and have a settled
tank with few fish. And today is the 36th day (5 weeks plus) since I
have the LR in quarantine bucket.
Q) Is it safe to put the LR back in my tank now after 5 weeks?
<The longer the better... but likely yes>
If yes, any special procedure or steps I need to accomplish before
adding it to my tank.
Note: I don't get any foul smell in the bucket. Plus the bucket was
under a table, so its relatively dark even during day time. And having
learnt my lesson, I QT all fish now and am the latest supporter of FW
dips for fish.
Thanks once again.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fallowtkfaqs.htm
and peruse the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: worm, Naso QT, Protozoan fecal presence
2/1/09 Thanks for the compliments! Coincidentally, I
have a Naso tang in quarantine (for the past 4 weeks) that
stopped eating today. I noticed white hard fecal matter and
decided to look at that under a microscope. Well I saw (pics
attached) of something, possibly parasitic. Could you help
identify? <Mmm, other than appears Protistan/Protozoan, no...
but could be a commensal...> The Naso appears to be behaving
otherwise normally. The various pics are all pics of the same
thing. Thanks again! <I would not be overly concerned re
this... I would go ahead and place this Tang... as it is likely
to decline in the present small QT, and unlikely to infest the
DT. Bob Fenner>
|Re: worm 2/1/09 I'm a bit hesitant to put
him in the DT b/c he did have Amyloodinium (verified
microscopically). <Mmm... okay> Treated with Chloroquine
diphosphate for 10 days. He's been doing well 4th day into
treatment and been doing well for the last 8 day post treatment (so
he's been doing well for 12 days) up until yesterday. Is it too
soon to put him into DT? thanks <Given this further data/input,
it is too soon. BobF>
Sanitizing equipment? 1/22/09 Hi Crew,
<Hello> I have been an avid cruiser of your site for some time. I
sometimes surf for fun but I usually come here to find the answers to
specific questions. Of course I am writing because I have a few
questions. <Fire away.> I am currently treating my fish in
hyposalinity, after an ich outbreak (lesson learned, ALWAYS QT!).
<Yep> So my fish are currently living in a 30 gallon tank with
two sponge filters and a heater, while my 125 reef sits without fish.
The specific gravity is 1.010 in the treatment tank, and of course
unaffected in the display tank. The tank has not had any fish since
12/1/08, but I have added some inverts and corals, the last of which
went in the tank on 1/15/08. My plan is to raise begin raising the
salinity in the quarantine tank slowly starting now, and put the fish
back in the display sometime around 2/15/09. <I like to see them go
4 weeks without symptoms after treatment to help make sure they are
pathogen free.> I am waiting so long because of the possible
contamination from the newer livestock additions in the DT. Does this
sound like a good timeline? <A little quick for my tastes.> I
think I know the answer, but I thought I would throw it your way since
I had your attention. The real questions I have are about sanitizing my
equipment after it has been used in the QT. I think the QT is parasite
free because it has had hyposaline for 7 weeks now, but I still get
concerned about accidentally transferring parasites from the QT to the
DT, and would like to avoid it. <Is a very real concern.>
Normally I rinse my pumps, hoses, and water containers in hot water,
and then I let them dry out before I use them again. Do we know if
there is any temperature that will kill things like tomonts (not in the
tank but in my sink)? Will 120F kill them? <Most likely but not a
guarantee, I often throw nets and such into the dishwasher to help
clean them.> Or is it just safe to assume that when everything
dries, it is okay to use in the DT? <A dip in a mild bleach
solution, followed by a good rinse, and then allowing them to
COMPLETELY dry is my method,> I also ask because on the WWM site
there is mention of keeping a sponge filter in the sump of the DT, so
it is ready to go with bacteria when you want to set up a QT for a new
arrival. After using the sponge filter in the QT, how do we make it
safe to put back into the DT? What is the protocol? <I just throw
them out, they are cheap enough to just go get another. This is one of
the main reasons sponge filters are recommended over other filtration
methods.> Thanks so much for your time and help, Alex
Can apparently uninfected fish be carriers? Preventing The Spread
of Parasitic Illness.. 5/6/08 Hi Crew, <Hey there! Scott F. here
today!> On March 30 I had a sudden die off of 3 fish in my 90
gallon. I had quarantined a little Tang I bought for about 3-4 weeks.
<Excellent practice!> He was only about 1.5 inches so I thought
he would be fine in my old nano which was well cycled. I was pretty
sure the Eunicid worm that used to reside in the rock had met his
demise since I hadn't seen it for a while. Well, one day I went up
and I couldn't find my little Blue Tang. I picked up the rock and
turned it over a few times and no fish. I went downstairs and when I
came back up he was back in his favorite hiding place behind the
heater. I was rather worried that the worm was still alive. Not
thinking logically, I decided to move it to the main tank. <Uh
oh...have a hunch where this is going.> Within a day or 2 he started
showing signs of ich or velvet but he was still eating. The Coral
beauty was little aggressive toward him which didn't help. Any way
about 2 days later I woke up and all 3 algae eaters were dead. They
were eating fine the night before. I think if it disease maybe it was
velvet because of the speed it took. <A very good hypothesis. This
illness attacks and kills with astounding rapidity.> We put
Advantage on our cats that day also. May be possible some got on the
Nori? <It is possible if you didn't wash your hands after
administering this medication. Although the symptoms that you are
describing seem indicative of a disease rather than a poisoning event
of some sort.> Anyway my 2 Perculas, my corals, snails and my
cleaner shrimp are fine. I immediately removed the Clowns and initially
put the recommended dose of Cupramine in the quarantine. I removed the
live rock from the quarantine to an un cycled tank in the garage. I
dosed them for a couple days and had a hard time keeping the level up
without getting too much. Anyway I quit dosing them because they are
obviously not sick. My question is should I dose them for a period of
time in case they are carriers before I put them back in the main tank?
I'm looking at a 10 week fallow period which would be June 8.
<Good questions. However, I would not dose copper prophylactically
in the future, because of potential "collateral damage"
issues/ In your situation, a two month fallow period makes sense. You
simply cannot be too careful with a disease like Marine Velvet. By
removing all fishes from the display, and by allowing the Clowns a
period of time for observation, you're sort of covering all the
bases. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.> What are the Ingredients
for Disaster? Ich, Tang Minus Quarantine, & Overcrowding -
29/11/05 Greetings Crew, My 55 gal FOWLR was cruising along just
fine until I added a small Blue Tang the other day. Then more trouble,
he began scratching on the rocks, but he does not have any noticeable
parasites on him. I did see white specks near the bottom of the tank on
the glass, just above the live sand. They are moving although my clown
fish, trigger fish, and 2 yellow tail damsels seem fine.
<Unfortunately your tank is not large enough to support a trigger or
this tang. Additionally, to save yourself from fish losses and the
resultant heartache, it is important that you quarantine any new
livestock in a separate tank or container for at least four weeks
before adding them to your system.> The water seems to have these
white specks floating all over it too. The population of the white
specks is growing fast. HELP.... Is copper my tanks savior? <To
rectify the situation, I would remove the tang ASAP to a filtered
hospital tank or container, and observe for any parasitic outbreak.
Read through the disease and cure sections on WWM (starting here:
and be prepared to take action. I would strongly urge you not to
medicate your display tank with copper. It's unlikely that you are
seeing a cloud of free-living parasites in your water. It would also be
a good idea to return your trigger to the fish store as soon as
possible (and indeed the tang, if they can isolate it from their other
livestock), and read up on marine tank water parameters (ammonia,
nitrite, nitrate) and livestock choices.> Thanks, MIKE IN S.F.
<Good luck, and I hope you manage to get the situation under
control. Best regards, John>
Parasite Theories (7/26/05) Hi gang, it's me again
Anthony with another question also related to QT for new fish.
<Hi. Steve Allen with you this evening.> I've read from
your site and from LFS folks that tanks and fish will always have
parasites (just like the ocean). <There are many who assert
that you can have a parasite-free tank. Since we aren't about
to examine every square inch of fish skin and substrate surface
in a bunch of tanks under a microscope, there will not likely
ever be definitive proof one way or the other.> That It all
depends on the hardiness and immune system of the fish (also
cleaner fish and shrimp). <Important factors indeed.> The
new fish could be fine after QT but when it gets stressed out in
a "parasite free??" display tank, the ich could come
out. Is this true? Can a fish be a carrier even if it never gets
sick? <In medicine, we use the term "subclinical
infection" to describe infections that have little or no
symptoms in a given individual. Many of the symptoms you
experience when ill are your body's reactions to the
infection, rather than actual physical damage being done. The
white spots of ich are the visible manifestation of infestation,
not the actual microscopic protozoans. Many people who
"never had" Chicken Pox have antibodies. So they really
did "have" Chicken Pox, but did not develop itchy
blisters, fever, etc. They had a subclinical infection. Ich
doesn't come from nowhere and does not go "dormant"
for months years. They are either in the tank at a low level in
conditions that allow the fishes' immunity (and biological
cleaners, if present) to keep them in check to the degree that
the aquarist sees no apparent symptoms or manifestations, or they
are brought in with new fish or infested tank water from the LFS.
If a fish gets a spot or two, but no more, you may never notice.
Steven Pro wrote an excellent series on ich for Reefkeeping that
starts here: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/ > It
was also suggested that new fish after a 4-6 week QT without
signs of ich doesn't mean it's parasite free. <But
very likely is if you have seen no spots at all during that time,
for the live cycle of the parasites in question means that there
should have been some. Of course, I haven't really touched on
internal parasites here, but am guessing you are primarily
concerned with Cryptocaryon and Amyloodinium.> So the
suggestion was to mildly medicate during QT as well. Is this
true? <That's a matter of opinion and disagreement. I
don't like to give medicine prophylactically. There are too
many potential side effects from any of them that work. Also,
where's the evidence that "mildly" medicating
works? If you take half of the recommended dose of an antibiotic,
it probably won't work. Same goes for anti-parasitic
meds--you have to use enough to get the job done. Medicating a QT
for new fish would be done on the presumption that parasites are
present, thus requiring full-strength treatment.> If yes what
is the best medication to use (something that would not totally
destroy the good bacteria in the QT/holding tank which would have
live rock and obviously not stress the fish). Would
those "reef safe" parasite meds work (i.e. Ruby Reef
Kick Ich)? <I do not consider this or any other "reef
safe" medication useful. There is no evidence that they are
either safe or effective. My general belief is that "reef
safe" medications are not effective and effective medicines
are not reef safe. That is a WWM consensus.> Remember, this is
a question about new NOT sick fish. <Understood. Read
Steve's articles. They are excellent.> One last
theoretical question. If I have a tank with parasite infected
fish (no other fish in tank) that recovers and shows no signs of
illness after 6 weeks, does this mean that the tank and or fish
are parasite free (same an infected running a tank empty of fish
for 4-6 weeks)? <No. It could be the fish merely has the
situation under control. Parasites may still be present. The only
way to rid a tank of the parasite is to leave it free of hosts
long enough for all the parasites to die off for lack of a host
to allow them to go through their entire life cycle. That's
probably 6-8 weeks, perhaps even longer.> Thanks for
everything and regards to everybody. <You're welcome.
Thanks for the interesting questions. I hope you find my musings
on the subject helpful. Again, do read the articles. He also
recently wrote an excellent article about Amyloodinium for the
More Theoretical Discussion of Parasites (7/27/05) Hi
gang, and Steve thanks for your insight full answers. <Happy
to help. Back with you again this evening, Steve Allen.> Your
response and Steve Pro's article on ich had endowed me with
more knowledge than all the reading I've done in the past
month. I guess it put everything in proper perspective
There's something in Steve Pro's article about a fish
getting better only to be infested a month later by new parasite
babies of the guys that infected him originally where the fish
sleeps - is this what is commonly referred to as a secondary
infection? (excuse my non-scientific terminology). <I suppose
you could use that term, but "secondary infection" is
used in medicine to refer to bacterial infections that occur on
top of some other (often viral) infection that weakens local or
systemic defenses to allow the "secondary" infection to
occur when/where it normally would not. An example is developing
"secondary" bacterial pneumonia while ill with
"primary" influenza. In the case of Cryptocaryon, the
fish shed the parasites which then go through their substrate and
free-swimming stages before searching for an new host which then
ends up being the original fish. As you read, these non-infesting
stages last a couple of weeks.> Furthermore, these
parasites hatch in the dark. I have a 60g tank where a 5"
blue tang and 5" Auriga Butterflyfish were infected and
recovered - thanks to my hard working red fire cleaner shrimp.
<A really beautiful, interesting, and helpful creature
indeed--love mine.> They were taking turns with the
shrimps' cleaning station for almost 2 weeks. <Yummy for
the shrimp. The striped ones <much bolder than the reds>
will clean under your fingernails too. It really creeps my
daughter out.> It's been a week that I've hardly seen
the two fish with the shrimp. Now, the shrimp is starting to
stroll beyond its cave - I think for food. <No more delivery.
It has to go out for dinner now.> So now I have to drop
sinking food for bottom dwellers and the shrimp grabs it in a
split second. <yes, very fast and aggressive at eating
pellets, flakes, frozen food, chopped sea food--pretty much
anything remotely edible.> Sorry for ranting. My new question
is, what can I do to cope with the soon to come parasite babies.
<Keep your fingers crossed--perhaps the cleaner ate enough of
them off of the fish that you will see few if any offspring. How
big is your tank? Lysmata shrimp, which are hermaphrodites can be
kept in pairs or groups if there is enough space. I have two
amboinensis and two debelius in my 80g.> And I thought my 60g
tank will be fine from now on since I have no plans in adding new
fish. <It may yet. Definitely consider adding a second Lysmata
debelius. They should pair up, mate and provide live food
(eggs/larvae) for your tank.> Another thing I wanted to verify
- Are snails and shrimps (my only inverts) immune to parasites.
<To fish parasites. But not to whatever parasites naturally
can infest them. Most parasites host in/on only one type of
organism. There are certainly many exceptions to this
"rule," but neither Cryptocaryon nor Amyloodinium
involve other aquarium inhabitants in their lifecycles--just
fish. You seem to find parasites interesting (the actually are
fascinating), so you might want to take a look at this book:
My other tank 55g, recently wiped out by disease is running with
no fish but still has my inverts. So is the guideline of not
adding fish within 6-8 weeks still hold true? <Yes. In my
mind, the longer the better. If you are the patient type, you
might want to go to three or four months. I've heard from a
lot of people for whom 6-8 weeks did not suffice for some reason.
Just imagine all the cool things that will thrive in your tank
without fish to eat them.> I already have September to
quarantine new pets and October to hopefully move them to the 55g
display tank, marked on my calendar. One last thing.
What's your opinion about a quarantine and hospital tank
being the same setup bare). Steven Pro said that the
holding/quarantine tank for new fish should be bare (no rock nor
sand). The logic is to make the fish not too comfy (stress it a
bit) - so it can be infected by dormant deceases it or it's
companions may have. <I like having just PVC fitting or two
for the fish to hide in when scared. the nice thing about a bare
bottom is that you can vacuum it to remove parasite cysts that
fall to the bottom after dropping off of the fish. They have no
rock or sand to hide in. The most important reason to not have
rock or sand in a hospital tank is that they absorb the
medications (most especially copper) and make it difficult to
maintain a safe and therapeutic level in the water.> Thanks
Again, Anthony <You're welcome.>
Parasite Theories, Part 3 -- Mostly About Shrimp Today
(7/28/05) Hi Crew and Steve, <Back with you again, Steve
Allen.> Thanks again for your comprehensive answers to my
never ending questions. The tank which I'm concerned about a
second ich infestation is 60g. I added a Lysmata amboinensis a
few days after the debelius because I thought the latter was
overworked with the 2 fish taking turns. As you said I like the
amboinensis because it's bolder and not as shy as the
debelius. It was doing it's job but I found it dead in 2
days. <Sorry to hear.> I still wonder why - could it be
that the stronger looking debelius killed it or is it one of
those sudden death syndromes for shrimps (if there's such a
thing). My Auriga Butterflyfish loves nipping on my snails and
tube worms - so he's one of my suspects. <I'd say it
is unlikely that a debelius would kill an amboinensis, especially
in a tank of that size--plenty of room to avoid one another. As I
mentioned, I've had two of each thriving in 80 gallons for
two years now. It could have been some sort of illness, weakness,
or failure to adjust to the new tank. There's really no way
of knowing. I do strongly recommend taking a couple of hours to
acclimate as shrimp can be delicate, L. Debelius in particular
per my experience.> The debelius is nicer looking <and more
expensive> and I'm tempted to take on your advice to get
it a partner. Would they eventually show themselves, otherwise
what good are their good looks if you hardly see them. <Purely
utilitarian when not visible.> Reason why I added an
amboinensis instead. Also I read in LiveAquaria that the debelius
is aggressive to it's own kind unless mated. So should I pick
the same size or smaller for the second debelius.
<Interesting, I have not seen this or heard of it from others.
Stenopus shrimps are notorious for this and are best put in mated
ahead of time, but I am not aware of this being so for L.
debelius. I'd bet you can add one and they would pair
up--they are hermaphroditic. I'd go with about the same size.
Consider moving the rocks around a bit to confuse the one
that's already in there. You may even find that a pair are
more likely to come out than a single one. Although mine are not
out and about all the time like my L. amboinensis are, they come
scurrying forth in a frenzy of eating activity the minute any
food hits the water.> Getting back to my empty 55g I'm
running "a fowl". It has a 4" DSB so more places
for left over parasites to hide. I have a small amboinensis in
it. Will this guy eat parasites in the substrate even when
they're not attached to any fish? <I doubt it. They are
microscopic there, not part of a clump of inflammatory tissue for
the shrimp to dig out and put in its mouth.> If yes, maybe I
should add another one to facilitate ridding this tank of
parasites???? <I'd say you best remedy is what we docs
call "tincture of time." Let the tank go fish free long
enough for the parasites to die off for lack of a piscine
host.> Thanks again, Anthony <My pleasure.>
Pestering Parasites! Thanks Scott. <You're quite
welcome!> Quick follow-up. I have read or have been told somewhere
along the line that parasites are often present on most fish
Â even healthy fish - and are merely latent. <Many
parasites are continuously present on fish, but Cryptocaryon (the
causative protozoan of Marine Ich) is not always present, based on much
of the research that I have done.> I suppose in the case of Ich,
they donÂ¹t get through the slime coat on a healthy fish or
are not present in sufficient numbers to cause stress. Is this true?
<Yes to the first part, but the second part is controversial!> If
so, going back to my case, IÂ¹d like to be assured that
theyÂ¹re dead before adding a fish to the main system. If no
meds, what would you think about 1) no substrate in the hospital thank
(there is none currently), 2) running a small UV sterilizer or
IÂ¹ve also read where people have used germicidal lamps
instead of the regular light bulbs, and 3) with frequent (daily or
every couple of days) water changes from the main tank to try to
capture the Ick while theyÂ¹re in their non-swimming phase?
<Well, that's very similar to a technique that has been proven
to do the job every time: A bare tank, with 100% daily water
changes, will do the trick. This way, you're destined to get any
free-swimming parasites if you keep it up or 3 weeks...> Thanks!
<Give the 100% changes a try...Good luck! Regards, Scott F> J.D.
|Fresh water dipping stresses Hi Bob, This time I really
am writing ONLY to say thanks for your response to my last question
:) I just re-read your article on Acclimating Livestock. I see your
point on adjusting the pH of the water that is added to the
acclimation vessel to match that of the shipping water. I feel kind
of silly in not figuring that out for myself, since I work as a
chemist... Anyway, thanks again for your help, I think
I'm on top of this now. Dan <Outstanding. Clarity is
pleasurable, and acid-base reactions are of course very important
in biological phenomena. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Re: Fresh
water dipping stresses Hello Again Bob, Just wanted
to say thanks for answering my question re: "fresh
water dipping stresses." Also, thanks a lot for
pointing me to your WetWebMedia site, it looks like a
wealth of information is there to be had. I actually
have a follow-up question regarding fresh water
dipping technique. I've read your articles on
acclimation at the WetWebMedia site, but I just want to
be extra careful, since my next purchases will be
the first that I'll be dipping. I like to drip
acclimate my new arrivals by transferring them to 5
gallon bucket, then dripping my water into the shipping
water at a slow rate, over the course of about 45 minutes
(emptying the acclimation bucket half way several
times). When this is complete, I plan on doing the fresh
water dip in water that is at the same
temperature, buffered to 8.2, and dechlorinated. To me,
it seems that the instantaneous transition from salt
water to fresh would be quite shocking to the fish.
Is there any kind of acclimation to the fresh water that
I should be including here? Thanks again.
Sorry if I'm asking a simple question whose answer I
missed at the website. Hope you're enjoying Hawaii!
Dan <Thank you for your uplifting message. I think I understand
where you're coming from and to. The pertinent
comments: I'm leery about not responding to your
statements re your current acclimation procedure. If the shipping
water has little metabolite content, such
"drip" methodology should be fine. If there is
any detectable ammonia and a depressed pH, the addition of higher
pH water can have deadly effects... actually this is how
most livestock is probably killed, all the way from the
collectors through to end users... You will know the
relationship between any ammonia and high pH (much more
deadly than low pH situations). And the issue of
rapid freshwater introductions? Not a problem with
fish livestock that is otherwise healthy. Sometimes
I'd like you to dream of diving in the tropics and
drifting past a river inlet (to the sea) or being
a small tropical fish yourself, caught in a TidePool and
a big rainstorm... This happens, and no problem with
the fishes... Bob Fenner who has just been in a similar
situation (not as a tropical) at Two-Step on the Big
(Hawaiian) Island's dry side.>
I recently had a few fish pass that showed the same initial
symptoms The fish looked healthy and had been feeding quite nicely.
They would aggressively go to food but then hesitate. If they did eat
it, they would often shutter after eating the food. They became more
lifeless; clamped fins, lack of color, hiding in corners, sometimes a
fungus in the mouth, until they passed. I removed one sebae clown that
was headed down this same road. I thought I had seen something white in
his mouth, so I opened his mouth and noticed what looked like a
parasite. I removed it with tweezers from what I will call the
"tongue" of the fish. This caused this fish to bleed and
eventually die. Also due to my rough handling. The parasite was
about 6 cm in length, white with small eye in the front, and had a
arched back that was fairly hard. My guess is that this guy and his
friends are what caused the demise of my fish. Any idea on what it
might be, and how to rid that tank of the creature? I am worried about
buying new fish until the parasite is removed from the tank and
don't want to loose any other fish. One other quick question, I
have little white swirls on the back tank glass that are about 1 to 2
cm in diameter. A friend said these are snail eggs. Is he correct?
Thanks for all the help. What did we do before the Internet and e-mail?
<And it was gray in color... Well, the animal you describe is
probably a parasitic isopod crustacean (sort of like a terrestrial
Rollie-Pollie, pill-bug... but not near as fun)... and I doubt if it
was responsible for infesting your other fishes... (they tend to be
rather species, size specific). I would definitely start with a search
of your water quality as a prime cause of the losses... Don't know
what the small swirls are in the back of your tank... more likely a
type of encrusting worm than snails... but I wouldn't be overly
concerned with them. Do you dip/bathe, quarantine incoming livestock?
You should develop and stick to an acclimation protocol... to avoid
much of the world of infectious/parasitic disease. Bob Fenner>
Re: lots of questions <Avoiding parasitic problems> Hi
Bob, First, I would like to thank you for the help you have given me in
the past. Its greatly appreciated! Next I have a lot of questions many
of which are unrelated. I apologize in advance if its too much.
<Never too much my friend. Service to you> I have two marine
systems: a 30 gallon that I have had running on and offfor about 5
years with out a problem and a 75 gallon that I have had for about 3
months. After a month the 75 got ich which also got transferred to the
30 gallon tank. I lost all but a single fish in the 75 but saved all
the fish in the 30 with copper treatment. I have been keeping both
tanks coppered for a little over three weeks now. Here's my
dilemma! I want to remove the copper and begin adding live rock to both
systems, but I am now paranoid of getting ich again and with live
rock in the system I can't use copper if ich resurfaces.
Right? <Yes... this is so... the LR will readily accumulate
the copper, and it will kill much of the life that is the
"live" rock> I usually read the daily questions on your
web sight every other day or so and one thing I have noticed is that
every day there are several people who have ich. Am I doomed to get it
again or can it be easily prevented? If so, how? <You are not
doomed... Oh, I do wish the "trade" would adopt better,
consistent practices in preventing these simple to stop epizootics... I
can imagine (as well as you...) simple pH-adjusted dips to just exclude
ich, velvet (and a few other pests)... Well, back to reality... though
I will post an old "letter to the industry" that I drum up
every decade or so decrying the lack of such prophylaxis and what it
could do for the entire interest... Oh, found it:
http://wetwebmedia.com/ltrquartrdbiz.htm Along the same lines, I have
purchased a 20 gallon tank to use as a quarantine tank. I read info on
your web site and elsewhere on how to set it up, but I still have a few
questions. First, do I have to cycle the quarantine tank?
<Hmm, not really... if you can/do use "cycled water"...
like from one of your "clean" systems...> Can I just add
water from my main tanks and consider it cycled or would that not work
(I am going to run an AquaClear power filter on it. is that enough?).
<Oh! Yes... do monitor aspects of cycling, be ready for water
changes, feed sparingly...> Second, because I already have the
living room with two tanks there is really no where for me to put the
quarantine tank except in the basement. Do I need a light for the tank
or will the 100w bulb in the basement left on during the day be ok. Do
I need light at all? <Some, but not much... on a timer...
and/or some outside lighting so there won't be too much light/dark
transition> Finally, should I keep the tank running even when I
don't have fish to quarantine or medicate? <Mmm, probably not...
unless you're quite regularly moving livestock... it's probably
better to store the gear in-between uses> Next, the 30 gallon has an
undergravel filtration system with a couple of Percula clowns and a
scooter blenny. I am considering changing to an Eheim canister filter
instead. Can I just hook up the Eheim and turn off the undergravel and
remove a lot of the crushed coral from the tank floor or will this
cause the system to recycle or crash?? <Should be fine as long
as there is "not too much gunk" under the plates, within the
substrate... I would encourage you to "break the tank down"
rinse the gravel... and rebuild it (with the plates back in, minus
risers)... to remove chance of there being "too much
gunk".> I wanted to change because there is so much waste that
gets stuck in the gravel even after regular gravel vacuums. I don't
have this problem with the 75 which has an Eheim and a protein skimmer.
Should I just leave well enough alone?? <I would make the change,
but do the clean out... we'll both feel better> Also the 75, as
I said has an Eheim and a protein skimmer. I was also going to add an
AquaClear power filter to this system as well. Is this a good or bad
idea, or does it even matter? <Redundancy in life support systems is
a good idea/thing/practice> Finally, Could I put a flame angel and a
juvenile (about 2 inches) emperor angel in the 75 together or would
they fight? <They would likely get along...> I realize that
the emperor would eventually get too large for this small system, but
could it be kept in there for a little while? How long would it take to
outgrow the tank? <A year or so> Thanks so much for your help! I
don't know how you find time to answer all these emails, but I am
glad that you do! <A passion for me... to provide assistance, ideas,
attitudes to aid people in their quests for understanding, improving
their captive systems, and by way of these involvements, their lives.
Bob Fenner> Sincerely,