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FAQs about the Diseases of Clownfishes 23

Related FAQs: Clownfish Disease 1, Diseases of Clownfishes 2, Diseases of Clownfishes 3, Clownfish Disease 4, Clownfish Disease 5, Clownfish Disease 6, Clownfish Disease 7, Clownfish Disease 8, Clownfish Disease 9, Clownfish Disease 10, Clownfish Disease 11, Clownfish Disease 12, Clownfish Disease 13, Clownfish Disease 14, Clownfish Disease 15, Clownfish Disease 16, Clownfish Disease 17, Clownfish Disease 18, Clownfish Disease 19, Clownfish Disease 20, Clownfish Disease 21, Clownfish Disease 22, Clownfish Disease 24, Clownfish Disease 25, Clownfish Disease 26, Clownfish Disease 27, & FAQs on Clownfish Disease By: Environmental Stress, Nutrition, Social/Behavioral/Territoriality, Trauma/Mechanical Injury, & Pathogens: Lymphocystis, Infectious Disease (Bacteria, Fungi...), Protozoans: Cryptocaryon/Ich, Amyloodinium/Velvet, Brooklynella (see article below), & Mysteries/Anomalous Losses, Cure, Success Stories, & Clownfishes in General, Clownfish Identification, Clownfish Selection, Clownfish Compatibility, Clownfish Behavior, Clownfish Systems, Clownfish Feeding, Clownfishes and Anemones, Breeding Clowns,

Related Articles: Clownfish Disease, Clownfishes, Maroon Clowns, Marine Disease, Brooklynellosis,

sunken head on clown fish! 8/9/10
<Hi there>
I am seeking assistance on a sick clown fish I have. I have been one the forums but no one there is quite sure. I believe he is an Amphiprion melanopus though he was marked under the common heading of tomato clown.
<I do agree with both nomena>
I have had him for over two years now. He is very active and bright but he is very thin. He has never put on weight like any of his tank mates. After feeding time my solar wrasse could pass as a mom to be . He has always been thin but seem to very slowly getting worse. At the moment he seems emaciated with a sunken area above the head. He also just tapers into his tail like a wedge and has no real belly. He has grown but very slowly and not to the size I would expect living in a 120. I have attached some pics; they are not very good I don't have a camera that works for aquariums real well. The first is a pic of the clown as a baby when I first got him several years ago and the other are pics of him today. He is fed a varied diet that includes frozen Mysis and brine shrimp, krill, a formula for omnivores and he gets some of the frozen angel and butterfly mix. They are also given formula one and two pellets and dried seaweed. They are usually given one cube of frozen food in the morning and supplemented with pellets in the evening. He eats a good amount of the food; he is not too shy to get in there with the other fish to get his share. As far as living conditions he is in a 120 FO system. It currently has two refugium systems (a 30 gal and 5 gal), a sump (5 gal w/ live rock) and a protein skimmer for filtration. The tank contains : 2 green banded gobies, 1 Valentini puffer, 1 yellow Coris wrasse, 1 solar fairy wrasse, 1 six line wrasse, 1 purple Firefish, 1 tomato clown, 1 Sailfin tang, 1 Pearlscale butterfly, and 1 starry blenny. As far as water parameters the salinity is kept between 1.021-1.022,
<I'd raise this a few thousandths>
the ammonia and nitrite are zero, and the nitrate was at 50 two days ago.
<Way too high; likely a factor here>
I am working on lowering it!
<... see WWM re>
The clownfish was losing weight long before the nitrate level rose. I was wondering if he could have been living with an internal parasite for all these years.
<Yes; a possibility>
If so why do none of the other fish show symptoms?
<Perhaps species specificity; maybe no intermediate host/s for the parasite here>
Is it also possible that he could have some metabolic disorder that is the cause of this slow decline?
<Yes also... genetic vs. ontogenetic/developmental>
Whatever is the case how do I fix things?
<Perhaps improving the nutrition will rectify at least the looks of this fish. I do encourage you to add Spectrum pelleted food; make it the staple for all your fishes here. A bit of background: http://wetwebmedia.com/SpectrumFoodsF.htm>
Thank-you for your time, Jen
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: sunken head on clown fish! 8/11/10
Thank-you for the information. I do use spectrum foods for my freshwater fish and with my larger saltwater fish. I will look into getting a smaller pellet for these guys as well.
<Ah good>
I was just wondering would it be wise to use their anti-parasite food or would this cause undesired effects on the environment (live rock, inverts, etc. .)?
<Not really. It just includes garlic/Allium>
Also once all the water parameters are improved and if this increased diet doesn't seem to help him is there anyway to determine if it is a parasite or just a condition he suffers from?
<Not easily, no. Requires either sacrificing (killing) the animal and microscopic examination or involved sampling otherwise>
I would hate to just have to put him through a bunch of different treatments all for nothing.
<I would not treat this animal. BobF>

Clownfish questions with 2 attached photos 8/4/10
I am so glad that you all are available for help. I've scoured the clownfish info regarding disease and habits on the wetwebmedia.com site but still have some questions. Here goes...
I started my first marine aquarium in early April of this year (2010). It is fish only with live rock. My first addition was a clownfish who is in the attached photos and is the primary focus of my questions. From the start I noticed that he had thin whitish feces. I thought that something could be askew so I asked about it at a local fish store and was told that it's normal.
<Can be; though might also be indicative of biological lumenal issue/s>
I couldn't seem to wrangle if by normal he meant that it was normal due to stress or was a normal trait of the species. I kept an eye on the situation and noticed that the clown's feces consistency and color changed a bit according to diet but trended longish and lightish. I primarily feed Hikari Marine S pellets and roughly two times a week I'll treat him and the rest of the crew with Hikari frozen brine shrimp.
<I'd expand this diet>
The rest of the crew consists of; two Firefish and a yellow watchman goby.
Each individual was added to the aquarium at roughly 2-3 week intervals. I made the newbie mistake of not using a quarantine tank and my fish paid the price. At this point nothing fatal but I'm working to rectify and to do the best by them. What happened was that one of the Firefish showed signs of marine ich. I went to a local fish store and was told to put Quick Cure in my display tank.
Thank goodness I didn't. I went to the next closest store and they gave me Kick-Ich.
<... worthless>
That simply didn't work for me. I did more investigation and read about the lifecycle of the Cryptocaryon irritans and decided to pull everyone out of the display tank to let it lay fallow for 6 weeks while I began treatment of the fish.
<Ah, good>
After setting up a 20 gallon hospital tank I found another local fish store and asked about treating ich. I was given Seachem Paraguard and was told to treat all of the fish for 21 days. I am currently on day 16 of treatment and it looks like it's so far, so good. After two days all visible signs of ich were gone from the Firefish and it has not returned. With that apparently cleared up my attention has returned to my clownfish. With the fish in a bare bottom aquarium I'm better able to watch for symptoms. Chalk this up to lessons learned.
Specific clownfish questions:
His feces still appear to be whitish and thin. Infection or parasite?
<Perhaps neither... You might/could treat (through foods) with antimicrobial/s, antiprotozoal (Metronidazole). Detailed on WWM>
I do not know if this is meaningful, but, by eye I can tell that he has grown a good bit. When I first got him I had to break all but the smallest pellets in order for him to be able to eat them.
<Look to the Spectrum brand... they make very small pellets>
He has grown past the threshold where pellet size is no longer an issue.
He's a voracious eater when it comes to the pellets and goes nuts for frozen brine shrimp.
<Ah, a good sign>
As far as the other fish go their feces appear to be normal. The clownfish was separated from the rest of the group when he adopted and began defending all PVC pipes in the aquarium. This has made identifying whose poop is whose when vacuuming for water changes. I vacillate between thinking that I'm overreacting and thinking that I should do something. At this point I'm simply confused. IN a fit of "do something" I picked up Seachem Metronidazole but do not want to medicate if it is unnecessary.
<Use only once if you do>
Coupled with the information above and the attached photos below what course of action do you recommend?
<Nothing... as in to "do", treat w/ nothing other than the Paraguard you're finishing up with>
I have one more question. When he rests at night his color fades and he becomes quite pale. Is this normal?
While he was in the display tank I could not/did not observe him closely when the lights were off. In the hospital tank, most of the time, he turns on his side and slowly works his way back and forth across the available width. And sometimes he sits high in the front right corner. From what I've gleaned from the FAQ info this set of behaviors is normal. *fingers crossed*
I dose the tank with Paraguard at 10:00 p.m. I figured that by adding the medication to the water its oxygen level is lowered somewhat so I added an airstone (submerged my old Oceanic protein skimmer without the cup, obviously) to boost O2. Other surface agitation/filtration is provided by an AquaClear 20 hang-on power filter. By morning when the clownfish is up and about his color comes back and he looks pretty good. I took the attached pictures just moments before writing this email.
Should I shift the Paraguard treatment away from the fish's dark resting period? Is there something else that I should do?
<I would stick with your current protocol>
I thank you very much for your time,
Basic water parameters:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: <5
<And you for sharing Nate. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish... fwd msg... reading re dis. -- 7/4/10
Good day-
Attached is a blurry picture of a new clown with what appears to be an intestinal parasite or infection, I'm sure not clear enough to make a firm diagnosis...but clear enough to get close.
I just received him yesterday and part way through his acclimation, started to show signs of stress. I elected not to put him through my typical Formalin bath (because of his stressed condition) and quickly dipped him
for about 5 seconds and rinsed in freshwater for 5 seconds (all temp. & PH adjusted), then into the QT .
I thought I would loose <or lose> him overnight as he continued to worsen, laying on his side and sometimes upside down.
This morning I surprised to still have him although he was still lying on the bottom sideways....when suddenly he started to pass the whitish stringy fecal matter, with small knots every so often. I would guess internal parasite or such....
I have a tough decision here....
I think typically the parasite would not kill the fish as quickly as the stress, with that in mind...I would be inclined to wait to see if he recovers before administering another form of treatment.
Should I start a Prazi treatment right away in his stressed condition or wait a day or so?
<I'd wait>
Could the Formalin rinse have killed the parasite and he is just now expelling it, and perhaps recover with no further treatment?
<Not if it is/was internal, no>
His tank mates came with him, another clown and a juvenile Dory both of which made it through the full 15 minute Formalin bath and subsequent rinse fine...they would get the treatment also, as I have only the one QT...?
Your advise would be greatly appreciated.
Best regards,
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisart.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Clownfish... fwd msg... reading re dis. 7/4/10
Believe it or not he still lives..but no improvement (a tough guy). The other clown appears to be blind. Shows no similar behavior to the first, but continually bumps into things, including the Dory.
Not much I can do here, unless you have any suggestions, but go with the flow as we say.
Thank you...
<Read where you were referred to. B>

Clown Fish Help, Disease 6/12/10
I have read your site a lot when I started to get into saltwater, so I figured it would be a good idea to ask for help when I need it too. I have a 55 gallon tank that's almost 2 years old, it has 2 Damsel Fish, 1 Clown Fish (Ocellaris), 1 Scooter Blenny
<Will likely need a larger tank to get enough food.>
and 1 Coral Banded Shrimp. The Damsels have been in the tank for almost 1 1/2 years, Clown Fish for almost an entire year, Scooter for 6 months, and the Coral Banded Shrimp for 8ish months. Everything had been going fine,
but lately my Clown Fish has started to get little white dots (Smaller then a grain of sand) forming all over the top of his body, his skin has also darkened in that area. His breathing seems a little labored and he hangs out near the bottom of the tank not really moving much. He is still an active eater and comes up for food (Frozen Shrimp mostly and brine shrimp that I give the Scooter, when he can get it).
<Brine shrimp are potato chips, nutritionally worthless.>
I'm sure something is wrong but I'm not really sure what. The guy at my pet store said it might be Ick, but I though that only got fish that were under stress, and I'm quite sure he is not.
<Ick is caused by the parasite Cryptocaryon irritans, stress has nothing to do with it.>
Tanks readings are at Specific gravity 1.025
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
PH 8.2
All these are what it has been for weeks with little to no change.
I have a Fluval FX5, and a hang on filter, so I'm sure its likely not a water quality thing.
There is also about 40-50 pounds of live rock and a 2 1/2 inch base of sand on the bottom of the tank.
Any advice to help my clown fish would be much appreciated.
<See here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm, and here
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisart.htm .>

Clownfish Sores 6/7/10
Good Evening,
<Good morrow to you Adam>
Where to start... I moved a pair of clownfish that I had, had in my possession for several years into a new 120G tank (with 60G fuge in the basement, and 40G sump in the basement), after proper cycling etc. Shortly after moving them in, they started to get these white sores on the sides of their bodies / fins, which would eventually slough off exposing the muscle underneath. They would then heal, and the clowns would get new sores, rinse and repeat. None of the other fishes were effected.
A purple tang I also had in my possession started to show signs of ich, so I took all the fish out of the 120DT and treated them all with hypo. This was the first time I had tried hypo and unfortunately I killed all of my fish save a couple which I gave away because, as far as I can tell, the pH dropped rapidly (less buffering capacity in hyposaline conditions), hard lesson to learn.
<Yes... much more than "salts" lost utilizing this technique
(hyposalinity); carbonate, bicarbonate among others>
Fast forward 3 weeks later, I bought two new clownfish and a mandarin.
Since I did not have any fish in the tank I did not QT, as I can get the clowns out if need be. If you are wondering about the mandarin, the tank is now close to 3/4 of a year old, and there are plenty of pods for him, he is significantly plumper now than when I purchased him, and there are still plenty of pods for him to eat.
Now to the problem. The new clowns I purchased started to show signs of this ulceration that my old clowns suffered from. There is no change in their behavior, no change in appetite, no change in breathing, no signs of disease except they get these nasty sores. I would have taken them out a while ago and treated them in QT, however, my research has no been able to come up with what exactly I am treating. Whatever it is, is not fatal. The sores seem self limiting, however like I mentioned before, once one heals usually another starts. Initially there appears to be a cottony growth, which loosens, and then falls off. If the sore is on the body, the muscle is exposed, and if it is on a fin, the whole part of the fin ends up missing.
Does not look like ich, velvet, or brook.
More details about my tank. It is a 5 foot 120, lit with 3 MH, two Vortechs, apex controller, dose bulk reef supply 2 part with Mag, have a Deltec and octo skimmer, all of my parameters are those to be expected of a successful reef tank. Undetectable ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and phosphate.
450 Calcium, 9 Alk, temp is 77, salinity is 1.025. Corals are doing great.
Mandarin is also apparently disease free.
<All good data>
Picture CF1 shows the female with an early sore on her tail. Then CF2 shows
its progression. CF3 shows the female with an end stage lesion where it is no longer getting any bigger. CF3 also shows the male with a lesion at the base of his tail, and then another starting on his tail.
OCF1 is a picture of one of my old clown fish that had a sore on his body.
Same type of sores that these are getting.
Thank you for your time,
<These marks look to be sores... from burns/stings, likely from the Euphylliids in your photos, kept in the same system. Either your Clowns will "make peace" with the Euphyllia, Catalaphyllia present, or perish from them. Mmm, do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnfshanmf7.htm
and as much of the linked files in the series (above)... Bob Fenner>

Re: Clownfish Sores 6/7/10
Hi Bob,
<Yo Adam>
Your theory seems quite sound, when my old clowns moved from the old 60G, to the new 120, they were hosted by a torch as opposed to the frogspawn that had previously hosted them (torch has a much stronger/stickier sting).
The new clowns are hosted by a rather large and mean elegance (the elegance regularly eats my snails).
<I saw this in your excellent photos>
I do have a bubble tip anemone, however it lives on the other side of the tank, I do not see the clowns finding it on their own.
<Perhaps in time>
There is an easy way to test this. I will put the two clowns in my fuge/frag tank in the basement, which shares the same water from my display.
The only difference being there is a complete absence of Euphyllids.
I will get back to you and report if there is any change.
<I thank you>
Thank you for your time. As usually you have been incredibly helpful.
<Welcome my friend. BobF>

Re: Clownfish Sores 6/13/10
Well done Bob!
<Medium rare please!>
Already less a week in the fuge and my clown fish are healing well. No new signs of sores, and all the damage done is repairing itself.
<Ah good>
Would it be worth while to try the clowns in the elegance for a while longer? Or shall I just bite the bullet and sell the elegance?
<It looks like a very nice specimen... How about moving it (the Catalaphyllia) to your refugium? This species can "get by" just fine w/ not much light (along with regular foods/feeding)... or another system entirely?>
Thanks again,
<Congratulations on your success. BobF>

Skunk Clown Has Problems 6/5/10
We've had our pink Skunk Clown for several months now. He's been hosting in a Condylactis anemone
<Mmm, can "work out", but not always... Not native partners as you know>
and has always been active and "normal". About 2 weeks ago, he stopped hosting (the first thing we find strange) and now floats/swims at the top of the tank on his side (weird but normal swimming behaviours for clowns, I
know). As of yesterday he has developed a bubble on only one of his eyes and it appears to be red in the center. Any thoughts? advice?
<Some sort of injury likely... physical most probably... Only time (not moving, medications) will improve. Perhaps read here:
Bob Fenner>

Not sure if this is Brooklynella 5/24/10
Hi Crew...
I've had my ocellaris for a year (introduced into the tank with another one, but that one died 6 months later). It's no The ocellaris was previously in a 45g fowlr, under t8 bulbs. Moved him to a 125g in February, which did not have lights for 3 months. I now have temporary lights on it (a 2 bulb 30" t5--SunPaq). That's when I noticed his color not as bright (due to lack of lights?).
<More likely nutrition>
No behavior problems outside of silly clown behavior. I got another ocellaris 2 weeks ago (I don't think it was tank bred hence my worry of brook). The color difference is noticeable -- the new one is much vibrant than the first one. They have not had violent struggles, and in fact, they seem to be sorting themselves out peacefully.
I came back from a 4 day vacation (I had a sitter handle feeding them pre-measured food).
I noticed the first clown is looking very slightly ashy. But he's eating (he is not spitting out the food he's taking in), not hiding, not being shy, not swimming funny or rubbing on things, no heavy breathing or hanging around the surface gasping for air. I also remember last week seeing white stringy thing out of his bottom (which your site indicates it's a sign of a parasite). Haven't seen it since, though.
It's been 7 days since seeing the white stuff, and my clown is behaving as clowns do.
If this is brook, would it have killed him by now?
<Likely so>
And if it was the other clown who introduced it, would it have taken 2 weeks to manifest itself in the 1st clown?
<Not likely at all>
The newer clown has no signs of illness whatsoever; on the contrary, it seems very healthy and vibrant. If it had introduced brook, would it have died by now?
<... yes>
Or can it just be a carrier?
<Not really... weaker individuals may "show" symptoms sooner, worse... but all Amphiprionines will become infested in time>
It's just the first clown that seems a bit off. He was doing this thing with he diamond goby though, that seemed odd, even for a clownfish....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6nYkmEvJAM (feel free to remove that link if I'm not supposed to post videos; but it shows the odd behavior). He did this many many times over 3 days. I haven't seen him do this since I got back though. Don't know what to make of the whole picture.
Other fish (3 Chromis, 1 Banggai, 1 Firefish, 1 diamond goby) appear to be healthy. A month ago I had a sick Tang with a parasite (probably Paravortex, but never found out) that I removed from the dt, but he died in QT. No signs of similar symptoms on anyone (tang had black spots).
Parameters: ammonia and nitrites 0ppm, nitrates: 10-20ppm. Chaeto in the sump, lots of flow. Should I risk qt'ing the clown if he otherwise seems healthy?
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/brooksympf.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish, NH3... reading 5/13/10
Dear Crew,
After the recent death of my purple Firefish, I have noticed that my small clownfish (2" tops) has what appears to be Finrot (or it could be an abrasion, as he shelters in LR) and has a faded white blotch around his dorsal fin. Any ideas?
If the description is not accurate enough I could provide a picture soon.
Tank parameters are all zero excluding ammonia (.05 ppm, if that).
<Deadly toxic...>
I have yet to purchase any non basic test kits, (phosphorous, calcium, magnesium etc.) so I am not yet certain if one of those is off.
Warmest regards,
Sam Sutton
<See WWM re Clownfish, http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd2.htm
toward the bottom of the page... and Ammonia... Don't write w/o searching, reading first. BobF>
Re Clownfish, NH3... reading
Ach, my apologies, I meant .005 ppm. Quite the difference, hehe. I will review the provided link, however.
<Real good. B>

Facial tumor? Clownfish dis. 4/20/10
I apologize for not being more read in the subject of fish pathologies; however, my 3 year old clown has developed a fairly rapidly growing growth on his cheek over the past week. It currently is approximately 6mm x 4mm x 3mm. It is not discolored. He is able to eat and has not lost his appetite. It appears hard, but I have to admit I have not felt it. I am hoping that you may point me in the right direction, as far as the most likely causes, that I may research them further. Thank you
75g mixed reef w/ 40g refugium
Water parameters within normal limits
1 other clown x2 years
Anthias x4 months
Note: Purchased two other Anthias with the remaining Anthias, both ate well but perished (disappeared) within 2 weeks of purchase. (No surfing to my knowledge.)
<Mmm... Could/would you send along a well-resolved photo of this growth?
Most such processes can be traced to a mal-interaction with a Cnidarian "host"... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnfshanmf7.htm
Bob Fenner>

Re: Facial tumor? 4/21/10
Here are some pictures, let me know what you think. Thanks for your help
<Is as I suspected... welts, from stings. Read where you were referred. B>

Sluggish Clownfish -- 4/12/10
I am just starting off in marine and your website has proven indispensable in setting up my tank.
I know I am overly anxious so apologies if I'm panicking too quickly but I just don't want to lose my fish so early on.
I recently bought two clownfish, I had the waters tested before I bought them and all the parameters are good.
In the tank I already have 1 skunk shrimp, 1 brittle starfish, 3 snails and a small bit of coral.
The 2 clownfish started off well but today I notice the bigger of the two is acting sluggish.
<Not atypical behavior>
There are no signs of disease that I can see but she seems to have lost interest in food and is not moving the same way as she was.
Everyone else in the tank seems to be fine, any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated?
Thanks for your help,
<What re the system make-up, foods/feeding...? I would not be overly concerned if the other specimen is otherwise "acting fine"... Do keep reading on WWM re Clowns... and offering a variety of foods. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sluggish Clownfish 4/13/10
Thanks for getting back to me, the system is made up of a bed of live sand, tank is 1/4 full of live rock, 1 small piece of mushroom coral which came with what looks like 3 transparent tic-type things buried in to it.
Our alkalinity is a tiny bit high but otherwise all parameters are good.
I'm hoping it is a personality thing, as our clownfish has been feeding well since I wrote last but is still acting peculiar.
<They are "clowns"...>
She has been staring at the sand in chosen areas i.e. tail straight up in the air and nose to the sand!
She is moving slower than she was but is still moving around the tank.
Our other specimen is acting fine.....apart from tormenting our poor old brittle fish, he had peace for a while
and doesn't know what's hit him now.
Thanks again,
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnbehfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. BobF>

clownfish with welts -- 03/23/10
Good morning.
<G'morrow to you>
I was wondering if it is common for a clownfish to get welts on it's fins when it first starts to host an anemone or coral.
<Yes it is>
I know it isn't Cryptocaryon irritans because I have dealt with that in the past and unlike a sprinkling of pin sized or pin head sized dots these are more like welts/pimples on the caudal and pectoral fins and one close to the dorsal.
I saw these before on another pair of clownfish but only one or two spots (but in the same areas) that to my knowledge never hosted my BTA, but who knows what happens when the lights are out. Since moving those clowns to my frag tank the welts cleared up. My newer clowns spend all day in the anemone for the most part but have only been together with the anemone since Saturday ( after 5 weeks of QT with no incident). None of the other fish (a gramma and a YW goby) have ever had these marks. No excessive slime, no torn fins, no heavy breathing or other signs of illness like flashing either. They have voracious appetites as well ( and even feed the anemone!) I have attached a few pictures. The pictures of the spot by the dorsal shows its "pimpleness" more but the spots on her tail are the same, as well as the few on her pectoral, but harder to get a clear picture of. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<I do think this is likely "getting to know you" reaction markings... though your last image, showing the Zoanthids "next door", may indicate a mal-interaction as well. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish with welts -- 03/23/10
I forgot to mention from my previous email with the same subject line, I have seen the same clownfish with the more prominent welts/ pimples willingly enter my torch coral and give a "ouch I got stung" reaction...but yet still occasionally does it anyway when not in the BTA.
<Ahh! Could well be the explanation here. BobF>

Re: clownfish with welts 3/23/10
<I do think this is likely "getting to know you" reaction markings... though your last image, showing the Zoanthids "next door", may indicate a mal-interaction as well. Bob Fenner>
Mmm yeah. ha ha ha, Needless to say where I initially placed my BTA and where it decided to be is a far cry east, however it has stayed there now for several weeks. I will watch for interactions and possibly frag/move the Zoas. Thanks so much for all your help I greatly appreciate your time.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Clown Fish Problem 3/21/10
Hi, what a great website. I have a 40 gal salt water tank. I have a blue tang (1 in),
<Needs a larger volume than this very soon>
and 2 false clowns (1.25 in and 2 in in size), 4 crabs and two green hairy mushrooms. The tank consists of 3 large live rocks and live sand. Oh and there is this strange small (.75 in) black crustacean of some sort that showed up about a month ago.
<Keep an eye on this>
I think he came in the rock the green hairy mushrooms came on. Any how the small tang and clown don't seem to have any issues. The large clown has been swimming vertically for the past two months (which now sounds like
swim bladder disease),
<... no>
but this morning he/she is laying on the sand behind the live rock breathing rapidly. Some of the posts suggest this could be laziness or nesting, but mixed in with the vertical swimming..Is this a sign the fish is going to die soon from swim bladder? How do I handle this?
<Patience, better feeding perhaps>
I'm still a rookie fish owner, have only been doing this about 7 months.
Any advice would be
greatly appreciated! Thanks!
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Problem with Saddleback clowns.... 3/19/10
Hey Good afternoon.
First I want to start by thanking you for giving me great direction on a previous problem with a yellow tang. The yellow tang was show red veiny lines through the tail and you directed me to a couple of links on the site. After reading the links the solution was poor water quality. As soon as I fixed that the color came back and haven't seen any problems since.
However, I have recently set up a small 30 gallon reef tank and it has just recently finished cycling. I purchased a pair of black and white saddleback clowns 9 days ago. I have them quarantined in my fish only tank.
<Not really the best idea, hard to treat and makes your existing livestock vulnerable to any potential the new additions may be carrying.>
They are separated from the other fish in the tank by a large acrylic divider. Everything in my FO tank seams fine and my other fish are doing great. No Ammonia, zero Nitrites and between 10-20 ppm in Nitrates. SG is at 1.024 and ph is at 7.93.
<A little low.>
oxygen levels test good (I have and air stone under the rocks). The only thing I can think is the stress from the travel.
I live in a rural area and the LFS is 2 hours away. I got a call from them on a Tuesday that they were receiving a pair of saddleback clowns. I told them I was interested and asked if they could hold them. They did but said they could only hold them for 24 hours. Which I can understand. My thought is, they had a long travel from where ever to the LFS and then the next day a 2 hour car ride to my house.
<Definitely stressful, but not necessarily deadly to otherwise healthy fish as long as they are acclimated correctly.>
The smaller one (the male) didn't swim around much and stayed in hiding. I couldn't get him to eat, and they both showed signs of heavy breathing.
Well the male or smaller one died 2 days ago and before he pasted he got very white and almost a slime color around the body? Now the larger one (I'm guessing female) is having the same reaction? She had a healthy appetite and now is not eating and developing this same white slime around head and body?
<Could be Amyloodinium/velvet or Brooklynella, which is highly lethal and contagious.>
I'm afraid it maybe too late? They were both tank raised too.
<Brooklynella is fairly rare in tank raised clowns, very common in wild caught, but who knows what it may have been exposed to in the pet shop.>
What could this be?
< http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisart.htm >
I'm thinking if I have too next time because I'm so remote is ordering online and getting it straight to my house instead of the extra stop at the LFS.
<May help, plus one less tank to pass through where it can be exposed to disease.>
Your thoughts and any suggestions on a pair of clowns that take to anemones easier?
<Hopefully I just being pessimistic about the disease and they just didn't handle the shipping well, but tough to say. Watch your other fish closely and be prepared to treat if they show any of the same symptoms. Often tank raised clowns are not interested in anemones, and take some time to settle into them if they do at all. Also different species of clowns tend to prefer different types of anemones, so depends on what you already have.>
Thanks for your time sorry for the novel...

Clownfish question, dis. 3/15/10
Dear WetWeb Crew,
Thank you very much for your site. I could not find an answer to my specific question so I write to you for help. My 8 year old son and I are new to this hobby. We have a 12 gallon saltwater tank with live sand, 12-15 lbs of live rock, 2 shrimp, 1 turbo snail, 1 high fin cardinal, 1 royal gramma and 2 ocellaris clownfish.
<Wow, you have more in there than I do in my 46G tank. Really for a 12 gallon I would not have more than one small fish, and a small tank like that can be very tough for a beginner.>
We recently added a UV sterilizer because we have had several losses to ich (we think)...
<Won't be of much use.>
The water chemistry is always great.
<Define great.>
The cardinal has lived through the whole cycling set up which was Dec. 28th 2009and did not get ich.
<Most likely does, just not symptomatic.>
Since I don't know very much at this stage, I am concerned about one of the clownfish. When I look at him with a
magnifying glass, it appears that he has grayish ? on the back area before the tail fin. I told the store (a real aquarium store, not Petco) about it and they said that it is the slime that protects him...
<Possible, is it permanent or does it move around? Might just be coloration. Just how small are we talking about? Often discoloration is a result of environmental factors.>
I cannot live through another bout of problems and do not have and will not have the space or money for a quarantine tank.
<Unfortunately at your current stocking levels I think you are heading for more issues.>
I couldn't catch him before and don't want to stress him out. He doesn't have problems breathing, eats and swims normally, isn't rubbing on anything and is paired up nicely with the clown we added this last Friday.
<Not much can be done without a QT to help him even if he is sick in reality.>
What is normal protective slime?
<All fish have a protective slime coating.>
Are there any links with photos to show what is normal or not? What is velvet?
<See here for pics, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisart.htm. Velvet is a very virulent and lethal parasite common in the hobby, see here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amylloodiniumart.htm .>
Thank you very much for your help...
Re: Clownfish question 3/15/10
Thank you very much for responding back to me.
I am so discouraged about the advice I was given when we got into this hobby.
<Far too common a problem for my tastes, in some cases ignorance, in others short sighted sales for the quick cash. Both help create the 90%+ turnover rate in the hobby.>
I have spent so much time and money and do not enjoy the stress.
<I'm sure.>
Yes, this is a small tank and I was told I could have this much livestock if I kept the water chemistry right.
<More to it, aggression, swim space, and territory issues to just name a few. My gramma dominates a much larger tank, I assume your will end up doing so as well to the detriment of the other fish.>
I hope that the clownfish has a coloration issue, not a disease... I'm not sure what I will do...
<Honestly I would try returning it, best for everyone.>
I've turned into a big crybaby over little fish dying... Thanks again...

Ocellaris clownfish, hlth., Flagyl f's 3/12/10
Hi, I would like your opinion. I have two Ocellaris clowns in a 30 gallon long tank. I have had them for 1 month now (tank is 3 months old), SP is 1.023, temp is 80 F, nitrites and ammonia are zero, last pH test was 8.5, lots of live rock and bare bottom. These two clowns have always had different personalities, the smaller one being hyper, swimming all over the tank, top and bottom and eating aggressively. The slightly larger one was a bit lazier, would spend most of it's time in the same spot, fighting with it's reflection and eating very well too.
<These personality differences are to "be expected"... the larger "turning into" a female...>
Their feces is white and stringy like and I was given Metronidazole to add to their food as a treatment. I started this treatment on Monday. I sprinkled a bit on their food and let it soak in before feeding. Now, my main concern is the newest behaviour of the larger fish. Since last night, it has been swimming head down, at the top of the tank and out in the middle. Does not move unless you come near it and then immediately returns to the spot. What really bothers me is that the fish did not eat tonight.
Any advice?
<I would cease treating, lacing the food/s with Metronidazole... If you feel further treatment is warranted, instead look into a vermifuge... my choice here is Prazi/quantel. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ocellaris clownfish 3/12/10
Darn I had that product in my hand yesterday but put it back because it said not to use with invertebrates (I have two red leg hermit crabs). Is going off food normal during this behaviour?
<Yes it is>
Last night both clowns moved to their regular sleeping spot and today the larger is still there. Periodically turning over on its back and head and then righting itself back up. The other clown is nearby hovering in a small area. There is no interaction between the two at all right now. Neither ate today and weren't interested in their food. I am paranoid of Ich and Brooklynella (they are supposed to be captive bred)
<But could easily contract if placed in systems w/ wild caught fishes...>
and keep looking for signs. I don't think there are any but they have a peculiar salt like look under certain light. It's been there for well over 2 weeks(maybe longer I can't remember). I hope you are understanding what I mean.
<When in doubt, treat w/ nothing. Much of the behavior you describe is "natural"... Take care, and be patient. BobF>
Re: Ocellaris clownfish 3/12/10
One thing I forgot to mention in my first reply, when I look at the clown fish at night with a flashlight they are clean and beautiful looking.
During the day is when I see the stuff I mentioned. Your expertise is welcomed!
<Mmm, do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisart.htm
and hey, why not? The linked files above. B>

Help with Clownfish Diagnosis 3/1/10
Dear Crew,
Thank you so much for the wonderful website and all the time you put into helping us keep our fish alive! I spend un-godly amounts of time reading & learning (although it still seems like I know nothing!...). I try to make sure that I've come to a complete impasse before I bug anyone for their help. Unfortunately, I seem to have arrived at that point, I just do not know how to proceed from here. I apologize profusely in advance for the long email, but I wanted to provide as much information as possible as I know it's hard to diagnose a tank that one has never actually seen (Of course feel free to cut and edit for posting on WWM).
My mated pair of Polymnus Clowns have been "sick" for well over a week and a half now, which seems to rule out quite a few diseases...I am at a total loss as to what the problem may be, and the best way to proceed. I don't want to cause unnecessary stress in the tank by trying to catch/quarantine/treat if I'm incorrect. These are the specifics of my 55g
reef for reference before I describe the problem:
Tank Specs:
216watts t5-HO
Fluval 305 - sponge, prefilter, BioMax
55g Aqueon HOB
55g Aquaclear - sponge, carbon
Koralia 1 fan
PowerSweep 214
Water Parameters:
Temp - 82.4 (I've read that most coral reef's are actually in 82-89 degree water)
pH - 8.3
Ammonia - 0ppm
Nitrite - 0ppm
Nitrate - 15-20ppm
Calcium - 475mg/l (I believe that's the correct unit...)<Yes, is equivalent to ppm>
<And Magnesium conc.? As important as the Ca... which is high here>
Mated pair of Saddleback Clownfish (A. polymnus)
(1) Firefish (N. magnifica)
(1) Dwarf Hawkfish (C. falco - I believe, not 100% about this ID)
(1) 4-stripe Damselfish (D. melanurus) --> He's only in here because I haven't managed to catch him yet!
(3) Peppermint Shrimp
Assorted snails and dwarf hermit crabs
Green Zoa colony
Orange Zoa colony
Dragon Soul Favia frag
2" Frogspawn frag
3.5" Elegance
<Mmm, are any of the above Cnidarians new, recently moved near to each other?>
The symptoms that the Clownfish display are as follows: the large female flashes against rockwork/sand/whatever is closest to her a couple times every few hours.
<Mmm, some flashing is natural, to be expected... and Clowns do this behavior to "clean" and select a spawning site>
The little male does the same but slightly less frequently. The female does have some very small white spots on her, they don't appear to protrude at all and are concentrated on her face with a few scattered along the lateral line. I thought that I saw one white spot on the boy but it doesn't appear to be there now.
They both have been eating well, today the female didn't seem to have an appetite for the first time though, she ate perhaps 2 pieces of flake (typically she eats almost all of it leaving none for anyone else).
From what (little) that I know, it doesn't appear to be Ich, especially as it has been this length of time and none of the other fish in the tank show any symptoms.
<Well-observed and stated>
It seems like after over a week of noticing the spots, closer to two, that other fish would have gotten infected by this point unless it was relatively Amphiprion specific like Brooklynella, but at the same time if it was Brook. then the Clowns should be much worse at this point, right?
<Likely so, yes>
I thought perhaps Amyloodinium is the culprit because the white spots do not appear to protrude at all like Ich (and I've never seen a single spot on any fins) but look kind of velvety, but again none of the other fish in the tank display any symptoms.
I've only had the clowns for a little over a month, and they've scratched/flashed on and off for at least the past two weeks. I've been under the impression that perhaps it was just a stress/territorial behavior as the clown cannot stand the 4-stripe and she does seem to scratch immediately after chasing him.
<Also a possibility. Dascyllus species can be bugaboos>
With the lack of appetite today though, and the definite spots I am thinking
that it must be something other than just personality. There must be some disease or environmental factor
<I think this mostly>
that I just cannot find, so I suppose my real question is, what would you guys do in this situation?
<Mmm, if you have another established system, I'd move the Polymnus to it.
Barring this, I'd remove the Four-Stripe, add some good carbon filtration and clean/spiff up your skimmer/skimming (to discount the possible mal-affect of the Cnidarians...)>
Do I stress everyone out by trying to catch the Clowns and QT them?
<Not quarantine, but movement to elsewhere>
Or, is it better to maintain water quality, large water changes and just to monitor the situation?
<Yes to this latter. This is what I'd do, along w/ removing the Dascyllus>
An aside, the Hawkfish has no interest in flake/frozen food whatsoever.
He was eating flake in the LFS, but now seems to only eat the amphipods/other bugs in the tank. Will this continue to be sufficient for him, or is there a way I can increase his interest in the prepared foods?
<See WWM re Cirrhitid feeding: http://wetwebmedia.com/hawkfshfdgfaqs.htm>
He doesn't seem to have any lack of food, he's constantly jumping from one spot to the next and stopping to peck at something along the way.
Thank you so much for your time, and I look forward to your suggestions!
<Steady on... it reads/looks as you're doing fine thus far. Bob Fenner>

Re: Help with Clownfish Diagnosis 3/2/10
Mr. Fenner,
<Mr. B>
Thanks so much for getting back to me! Sorry again for the long email, I'm sure you must get hundreds so I'll try to be concise.
<Just a few dozen or so a day>
The calcium was actually higher, not knowing what I was doing months ago and not having a Ca test, I followed the instructions of my (reputable) LFS and was putting a small dose of Tech CB (A&B) in the tank daily.
<Mmm, again, I would not do this... Add through water changes, already dissolved thoroughly>
When I got the Ca test I saw that it was way too high so I've been slowly lowering it over the past few weeks; the Magnesium test is next paycheck, the tests start to get a little expensive!
<Ah yes, but necessary>
In fact all three of the LPS corals are new. It didn't occur to me to look for aggravation other than direct stings since I hadn't seen the Clowns anywhere near the corals at all yet, guess that should have been a no brainer though...
Seems like there may be even more to learn about coral then fish! Or just an infinite amount... ;)
Unfortunately my only other established system (not including QT) is only a 29g, and it houses the 16" Snowflake & the other two damsels that I was ignorant enough to purchase when I got into the hobby. Being that the eel's tasted Clownfish in the past I don't feel comfortable putting the pair in there, obviously.
I've already tried everything to catch the 4-Stripe, but to be perfectly honest, I think the little bugger is smarter than I am. He knows every trick I've got; this weekend will have to be the rock removing project.
<Consider devising a "bottle trap" or acclimating this fish to feeding out of a plastic net placed, left in your tank. Please read here re:
After emailing you when I did my regular water change, my Aquaclear (the one with just carbon and a sponge) didn't start back up. Once I had disassembled the entire impeller assembly and put it back together with no avail, I went out and bought the larger Aquaclear for a 70g tank (300gph I believe), this now has a sponge, new bag of carbon, and some new BioMax.
Do you mean more filtration than just a large bag of activated carbon, or is this sufficient?
<Should be fine>
There are so many differing views about the use of carbon in aquariums that it gets hard to find the black and white of the matter.
I suppose I also should purchase a HoB skimmer of one brand or another (I have less than adequate space around the tank for the sump filtration that it deserves).
<A worthwhile addition>
Thanks again for taking the time to answer! WWM is truly a wonderful and indispensable project, I don't know what I'd do with out your comprehensive resources.
<Thank you for your involvement, sharing. BobF>

Very sick Perculas 2/10/10
Aloha all, I really hope I can find a answer to this issue with the Perculas here because I really like these little guys. I bought these fish at a LFS and quarantined them for about 6 wks and then put them into my MDT. I noticed after about 3 to 4wks later that one of the percula had what looked like scrapes on it side and the other one had some skin discoloration around it's gills.
<I see this>
As you can see by the pics, it was no scrape and has progressed into something worse. I have moved the fish into a hospital tank and I am looking for a answer to what it is and what treatments are available if any.
<Mmm, could be resultant from a chemical challenge, or physical injury, a "burn" from the stinging life here... there might be an infectious agent more involved... even possibly protozoal>
It probably is some kind of bacterial infection so I am looking into antibiotics. The tanks water parameters are great, nitrites/ates 0 (as far as a test kit goes) phos 0, ph 8.3, temp 79, Mag 1500, cal 490.
<These last two are a bit high... I'd allow/adjust a bit lower through water changes>
tank has been setup for 3 years and is a mix tank with SPS and softies, tank mates which show no symptoms are yellow tang, leopard wrasse, fathead Anthias , potters angel, clam, fire and cleaner shrimp. All fish have never been aggressive to-wards each other and have been in the tank for several months or years. Mahalo for the help and any help is appreciated. Eric
<I'd hold off on actual treatment/s, moving these Clowns here. A hu'i hou! BobF>

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