FAQs on Marine Diseases 10
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Help Needed for Ick and Water Leak 7/17/18
I inherited a 65 gallon tank from my autistic brother after he passed, my mother
maintained it for several years with him and then on her own upon his passing,
she moved and is upgrading etc. so I have some knowledge and advice from my Mom
who has been at it awhile but am new to the hobby.
I started with dry live rock and cured it for 6 weeks. Added it to the tank with
sand and a scoop of my Mom's live sand and one of her live rocks algae and
cycled the tank. I then began slowly introducing fish over the next 2 months, I
added an ocellaris clown fish, royal Gramma, and a yellow tang. I did not
quarantine...lesson learned so please go easy on me.
After a month of introducing the tang he developed sandpaper like bumps all over
his body (literally looked like a sheet of sand paper under his skin), though
none were white, he was still eating but swimming jittery like he was itchy,
that night he scratched himself pretty badly on the rocks. The royal Gramma had
two white dots on her head and was observed scratching her head in the sand.
<Likely trematodes... maybe Paravortex>
I sought treatment for what I was told was Ick.
Using Focus and Metroplex as instructed I fed it to the fish. I also added 6
scoops to the tank as the package instructed and removed the carbon from my
filter. The snails and crabs I moved to a 10 gallon quarantine tanks while I
treated the fish (should have set it up sooner to introduce fish I know). The
tang started looking less bumpy in a couple of days, his scrapes from the rocks
started healing and he was swimming better but many of the dots turned white.
The Gramma continued having white dots and scratching in the sand. After a week
of treatment the clown (who had no spots or symptoms) suddenly started acting
off, swimming erratically in odd places and swimming into the jet (not like her)
and then by the next morning was hiding under a rock (not like her) and died
<Effects of the medication>
The royal Gramma did not eat that day and was found dead that evening. The tang
ate that day but the next day stopped eating and his fins had started to look
very frayed. Within a day he died as well.
65 Gallon tank Parameters=salinity 1.024, Temp 80, phosphates 0, Nitrates 5, and
ammonia 0Have a penguin 350 filter and a prism skimmer. To top that off, my
husband left a towel on the back of the tank after removing the dead tang for me
and it wicked water all over the carpet and there was a half inch of standing
water in the base of the stand.
<Ah, no bueno; though a nifty physics lesson.>
So we have now torn down the tank, to dry the carpet and stand. The rock is in a
30 gallon bin with a heater and the jet to try to keep it "live", the sand is
still in the tank with some water. What next? Was this Ick?
How should I handle the sand and rocks if so, to rid the tank of Ick and get
<Mmm; you could "nuke" (bleach) all. See WWM re>
I've read lower salinity to 1.01 and raise the heat to 90. I honestly am so
depressed about all that's happened this week I can't do anymore research.
<Just leave it all dry for now; or refill with just freshwater. We can talk in a
I just need to know how to proceed from here as I don't want my live rock to die
off etc. I know it will be awhile before I can add fish. Will in need to recycle
<Yes; to a degree>
( I will be quarantining fish for at least 6 weeks for sure in the future, but
what about dips etc. first I have always drip acclimated them.)
Any advice you have is welcome, but again it has been an emotional week and I am
looking for advice and have learned to quarantine fish first so go easy on me.
(Sorry for the length.)
<No worries Kris. When, where in doubt, do nothing, or as little as
possible/practical. All will become clearer in a short while. Bob Fenner>
Medicating a marine tank. 7/5/18
Happy 4th of July to your crew!
Gotta a question for you. Can you treat a tank with Melafix, Pimafix and
copper power...all at the same time?
<Mmm; you could, but I wouldn't. Am decidedly NOT a fan of the "fix" products by
API. They're usually worthless; sometimes interfere with nitrification;
cause water quality issues>
Been dealing with a big mess since just before Father's day.
<See this on your Emperor Angel pic. Yikes>
Tank info: 110g qt, ocean clear canister filter, no carbon, filled with ammonia
and nitrate reducing pads, 2 airstones, 1 air wand, 2 foam in tank filters each
rated for a 125g.
Fish: 2 triggers, 1 ladder wrasse, 1 Kole tang, 1 HiFin snapper, 1 tusk, 1
Emperor angel, 1 toadfish, 1 Foxface, 1 random damsel, and 1 mono. All currently
in the QT.
<This is a lot of good sized fishes for a 110>
I have lost 7 fish in the last few days . Rusty angel, vlamingii, sailfin and 4
<Good gosh; even more fishes?>
We took everyone out of the DT to treat for what we assumed was flukes due to
flashing and rapid breathing with no other signs of spots or symptoms.
<Likely just crowding and water quality at work here>
We intended to try hyposalinity, but couldn't drop the salinity fast enough
safely to avoid the fish ripping gaping wounds..so we went with Prazi.
<... did you freshwater dip; detect worms?>
About a week after starting the Prazi we had some serious aggression in the
tank. Then it looks like an infection broke out in the tangs. This is when we
started treating with the Pimafix and the Melafix.
<Please.... search both on WWM>
We were unsure what kind of infection and found both medications were safe to
use together so we did. One by one we lost the group of 7 fish. My angel looks
really bad but is steadily improving as we continue dosing. However, the signs
during the loss of the 7 fish and on the angel now..look a whole lot like
<No; not likely. All would be dead. See Velvet on WWM...>
I attached a pic of the angel..the bacterial infection is clearly the red..but
it's the while spots that are not raised all over her that are the question.
Upon closer inspection of all the fish their colors are like dull copies of the
original fish. They almost look dirty.
I told you all of that to get to this. Can I continue to treat with the
medications I have been and add copper power or does it need to be one or the
<I wouldn't use copper and wish the non-"fixes" would disappear off the planet.
They are responsible for MANY livestock losses. At best placebos and mild
bacteriostatics; of no real use whatsoever>
Also if I have to switch to just copper, can I get away without doing a large
water change and just start to copper?
<Copper in all formats is too toxic for continuous use>
We did a 30% water change on this passed Sunday.
Any and all helpful suggestions are appreciated.
<Really; the reading (on WWM) for now... IF this was the start of your troubles,
getting a much larger system, splitting up the fish livestock into two plus
tanks... Use of Quinine cpd....>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Medicating a marine tank. 7/5/18
The main DT is a 275G with 60g sump.
We tried to take them out for treatment to avoid crashing my whole system. I
always FW dip any and all fish before they go in any of my tanks.
My 18yr old thought he would surprise me with a wrasse and a snapper..no
treatment..just into the tank water and all from the lfs. This is where our
troubles began. Prior to the addition of the two fish... I have had zero loss in
almost 2 years.
The 110 was set up to be the hospital tank since I had so many fish and they are
all decent sized.. they were in close quarters definitely. Water parameters have
been good with the exception of a couple times where the ammonia was elevated
slightly. A quick water change and by the next day everything was good and
remained so (as far as parameters go).
So I am gathering your advise is to halt the treatments, don't start the copper,
and just maintain the water quality?
<Definitely water quality is important; but I would also be sampling,
trying to discern the presence of pathogens; treating for them if present>
I am genuinely asking..not being a snot about it.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
White spot, failed quarantine, Butterflyfish, and new dragonets
After 3 wks quarantine we introduced a long-nose Butterflyfish...and the next
morning he had 3 light white spots on his pectoral fin.
<Mmm; might be nothing (mucus from a bend...) or Trematodes, or...>
They were gone in a day so I just hoped it wasn't a big deal. After a week, he
now suddenly has 6, including a granular-looking spot on his side and the Scopas
tang has 2 white spots. I'm assuming I've introduced Cryptocaryon into my 220
gallon reef tank *crying*.
<Mmm; don't panic yet>
As part of our online shopping Thursday we ordered several more fish and they
should be here 11/28/2017. I have (2) 29 gallon tanks and a 70 gallon I can use
for treatment. Can this be eradicated in-tank without leaving it fallow?
<IF this is Cryptocaryon, no. However, I want to state as usual that most all
captive marine systems have resident parasitic, infectious agents...
That keeping them in check is a matter of balance twixt... Let's have you read
Can cleaner shrimp and neon goby fix this?
<May definitely help; but not fix if you mean totally eradicate from the
I'm including my livestock list, including the ordered fish, for your
Current: *3" long-nose Butterflyfish*3" Scopas tang*4" dragon sleeper goby*(2)
2" ocellaris clowns* 3" Clarkii clown* (2) 1.5" azure damsels*1.5" pajama
cardinal*1.5" Banggai cardinal*1" yellow watchman goby*1.5" peppermint shrimp*2"
coral banded shrimp*Asst CUC, mostly snails
Ordered:* 2" Desjardin Sailfin tang*1.5" coral Beauty angelfish*1.5" flame
angelfish*1" Ruby-red scooter dragonets*2" Rainford's Goby*Pistol Shrimp - Tiger
*Mexican Turbo Snail
<So wish we could do some version of the "Vulcan Mind Meld". I would NOT treat
the system, nor manipulate specific gravity... I might well add UV
sterilization, raise RedOx... I urge patience at this point. IF I were
tempted to move the fish livestock elsewhere for treatment, educating myself re
sampling, examination under a 'scope, and/or getting help re would be the route
I advise. Please do keep me/us informed of your further
observations and actions. Bob Fenner>
Re: White spot, failed quarantine, Butterflyfish, and new dragonets
Update for Bob: I wish we could Mind Meld as well!...though I'm afraid your
wealth of experience and knowledge would overwhelm me and put me into a
reef-induced coma :-).
<Heeee! More like put you to sleep!>
I've read that article on Marine disease, but the re-read was helpful and
reminded me that It has been a while since I checked my parameters. I went to
get my kit, as well as my meds/treatments on-hand, and realized that my reagents
are very outdated (2005) so I'm going to get a new kit.
<You are wise here>
I'll run tests anyway, but I'm not sure I'll have much confidence in them.
Sit-rep: The long-nosed butterfly, Scopas tang, and an azure damsel are the only
ones who have shown spots so far. None have kept those spots longer than a day
or two and none have had more than 6 spots at any time.
<Mmm; am even more inclined to think/consider this as non-pathogenic in origin>
The tang and damsel have only had 1 or 2, for the most part, and the butterfly
is presently free of spots. The fish don't appear to have increased their
slime-coat (no waxy/whitish coating) and the granules are a little larger than
what I regularly see at the local Petco (my only 'LFS' within 30 miles and which
I do not patronize). I've ordered a 55w UVS for the 220 gal DT system and a 13w
UVS for the quarantine, so that should help some.
<Yes they will>
I'm planning on running the 55W on an independent drain line out of the DT at
approximately 180 gph, pending a probable upgrade of the system return pump. My
DW decided she'd like to add some (2-3) cleaner shrimp and (2-3)
gobies (different species) to the QT-->DT as prophylaxis (she loves shrimp and
gobies, so this was right up her alley).
The 'Ordered' fish arrived in apparent good health. I did a FW/Formalin dip (3-5
min or until respiratory distress), followed by a copper dip on all the fish
and, assuming they all still appear healthy when I get home tonight, I will be
placing the pistol shrimp, snails, and Ruby-red scooter into the DT. I've also
ordered a controller to monitor pH and ORP, as well as improve the stability of
my system. I'm guessing I'll need to separate the angelfish into different QTs
because they came much larger than expected (closer to 2.5") and the 29gal QT
isn't enough space/cover to
avoid issues. I will probably tear-out the rock/sand from the coral QT and use
it for fish, since we likely won't be getting any more coral until this is
clear/understood. My present plan of attack is to check/correct parameters (as
needed), WC at night with vacuum to hopefully remove some cysts/parasites,
install UVS, and observe. If the infection/affliction accelerates, I will remove
and sample livestock and formulate a treatment regimen specific to the causative
agent. Does this make sense?
<It does indeed. I do like your plan, actions. Bob Fenner>
Thalassoma sel., captive fish mortality
Thanks bob, i will shy away from that wrasse.
I did pick up a wrasse people don't encounter often in aquaria, but I've
seen you talk about while diving in Hawaii, a Coris venusta. Subtly
beautiful, and ate everything the lfs had to throw at it.
<Hardy, like most Coris spp.>
I wanted your opinion in fish mortality. I've been told a trip to a
wholesaler during receiving can be an absolute living nightmare. Garbage
cans full of dead fish.
Without any real, honest empirical data out there, what percentage do
you put on the number of fish living a week after they leave the ocean
(capture, transport, acclimation at first facility), versus one year
post capture (the hobbyist home aquarium)
<Losses likely exceed 10% for some shipments; perhaps more>
And lastly, how would you rank in order of most common first,
reasons fish perish:
<Largest source of mortality: trauma/stress in collecting, handling,
1. Not suitable for captivity (ribbon eels, Moorish idols, mandarins)
<On a scale of 1-10, this is a 5>
2. Improper set up (seahorse in fish only set up, Achilles tang on too
small of quarters, coral eating species kept in tanks absent of coral,
Garibaldi damsels kept on tropical set ups)
<Again, about a five>
3. Disease (flukes, ich, velvet etc)
<Maybe a two>
4. Environmental ( bacterial, harsh water conditions)
5. Incompatible tank mates (too many tangs, triggers with lion fish)
<A four or so>
And lastly 6, the mysterious fish just die whether it be stress, some
type of genetic defect (heart issue, liver etc)
Any others I didn't think of. (I'm sure chemical interaction, stray
and others play a part too)
A curious case, but lots of mistakes. Please advise. SW hlth;
env. likely 1/13/17
Hello, hoping you can advise me on the correct order to fix an
Setup: 45 gallon saltwater reef tank. Probably about 8 months old. Same
fish since the start.
What changed? I purchased 3 Emerald Crabs
<Three? See my and others opinions re these... archived on WWM. Search
by the genus; likely Mithraculus will be most productive. Like other
crabs they become predaceous... and three?>
& 1 Sand Shifting Starfish from the local LFS. I didn't quarantine them,
because I searched and couldn't find anything that said these
invertebrates harbor fish diseases & such.
<Mmm; anything wet can serve as a vector for pathogenic,
I also purchased 2 new pieces of coral. I took the items from the bags &
put them in my tank. LFS water was, as always, discarded down the sink
-ALSO- Tampa, Florida had it's annual 2 day winter. The weather
dropped into the 30's and the house, along with the tank dipped
dramatically in temperature. I put a heater into the sump tank to try
and warm the water, but it was pretty useless.
2 days later after it had warmed up: My smaller clown fish was
lying on it's side and showing difficulty to swim. It had a red streak
above it's nose like a varicose vein under the skin. It's sides were a
hazy white like it was losing it's color. It had a few tiny white spots
on it's fins. I also happened to need to add some top off water, so I
opened the door to the sump, and noticed another clown fish lying on the
bio-balls. Yes, I had a clown fish in my sump from like 4 months earlier
that I thought had died and the crabs ate. It was hiding in the sump
under the bio-balls this whole time. Don't ask me how it got in the sump
or survived, and yes, it is embarrassing and bizarre at the same time.
This escapee was showing the same exact same symptoms as the small clown
in the tank. I also have another slightly larger clown (it's body is
nearly all black though, so prob a different species) and it was
babysitting the small clown but completely fine.
Attempted treatment: I have a 1 gallon small cube and put some pre-mixed
saltwater in it with a small water recirculating filter. I put both sick
clowns in it quickly.
<Mmm; the issue here is not likely "biological" so much as
environmental. I would NOT treat>
I didn't have copper for formalin, but I did have some of that "reef
safe" stuff. I have since read on your site that it is essentially snake
oil & useless.
<Ah yes; most are>
I also had some ich remedy stuff on hand. Yes, I know now it was all
useless - and both fish died in under an hour anyway.
<Too likely the handling pushed them over the edge>
Both of them would no doubt feel themselves slipping away and would
wrestle the strength to try and move in a frenzy, only to end up
floating upside down and then settle on the bottom. Horrible to watch
and I couldn't help them. :-( I watched the smaller clown fish take it's
last breath like a final sigh. It was really sad.
For the past 3 days, I have been watching my tank closely. The Yellow
Tang seems fine, The Snowflake Blenny seems fine, The Flame Angel seems
fine, the (2) Blue Chromis are fine, but the 5 line wrasse is darting
around the tank like he is losing his mind and can't sit still. His
belly looks distended and a bit white. I read that clown fish disease
Wrasses. That would mean that everyone is at risk if that is what made
it into my tank.
So, what should I do?
<Maintain optimized water quality and good nutrition and be patient is
what I'd do>
I don't want to kill my coral or my invertebrates. I have a large
cooler, the small 1 gallon cube and the 45 gallon tank to work with. As
I have read on your site, the main tank is the problem and infected with
something. I need to isolate my coral and my invertebrates and treat the
1) move the coral & macro-algae floss ball to the cooler, add a power
head, air stone & stick the LED strip on top
2) put the snails, crabs, cleaner shrimp, narcissus snail & sand
shifting star into the 1 gallon cube
3) leave the live rock and fish in the main tank and treat it with
something. What? I don't know.
<I would NOT move the animals NOR treat>
Does this seem like the best course of action to you? What would you
recommend to me other than to isolate EVERYTHING next time?
<All gone over and over on WWM... some animals, items are best
expedited, MOST should be isolated for observation for a few weeks,
GIVEN the means of adequately maintaining them>
Also, based on the obviously related symptoms of both clown fish, what
chemical should I treat the tank with?
How do I treat the Invertebrates since this may have been where the
infection came from... or could it have come on the coral? I'm not sure
if the cold snap had something to do with it too, but I don't want to
stray from the point.
Thanks for your help. I'll wait for your answer before I start doing
anything else dumb.
<What would Doug Adams likely write? "Don't Panic!". When, where in
doubt, read, take deep breaths, walk the dog/s... All should resolve
itself here in a few weeks. Bob Fenner>
Re: Advice please... READING, re system health really
I was about to remove the tangs as planned but they have stopped
Now they all shoal together and the PT mostly ignores them. However 6
tangs came down with bad ich but they have been very active and eating.
<The former; very common; good that they're eating>
I would like to know if it possible that they can recover from the
disease or it is just a wishful thinking?
<They can.... I would have you read, understand a few core ideas. Please
You will find that Cryptocaryon is almost always present... that keeping
"the balance" tipped in your (host) fishes favor is critical; that there
are several ways/categories involved in this balance. READ now>
In other words, they will die if nothing is done. I have a 265 gallon
and water chemistry is excellent (nitrate=5). Second issue is that my
refugium is full of cyanobacteria, hair algae and the Chaeto has
<? Please do learn to use the search tool (on every page) and/or
indices. Good and PLENTY is supplied on WWM Re BGA>
I have a clip on 6500K LED light and in the past, the Chaeto was growing
<... then something is "missing", deficient; favouring the Cyano...
There is none of the hair, Cyano in the DT and the coralline algae spots
are appearing everywhere. Should I do anything to the refugium or let it
be. My sincere thanks for you reply. Dai
<You should do something... Bob Fenner>