Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on HLLE, Head and Lateral Line Disease: Case Histories of Note

Related Articles: Head and Lateral Line Disease, Algae Filters Articles, Caulerpa Algae,

Related FAQs: HLLE 1, HLLE 2, HLLE 3, HLLE 4, & FAQs on HLLE: Causes/Etiology, Cures, Non-Cures, Vitamins in Marine Systems,

(and HLLE) Bob: Also, I wanted to thank you greatly for all of your advice on this site. I found HLLE on my juv. Emperor one day and freaked out. After reading all of the advice that I could find, I followed all of your advice and am happy to say my angel is almost 100% recovered in less than a month. Thank you! Ken <Ah, good news. Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

HLLE advice    1/14/14
I have had this scopes tang in hypo at 1.008 for the past six weeks.
<For what purpose/s? Am not a fan... have you read on WWM re Hyposalinity?
He has been eating well and the water quality has been pretty stable. I have tried to feed him Nori but he hasn't been that keen on it.
<... the treatment>
 I have noticed a small growth on his snout and what I believe is evidence of HLLE. Could you please confirm.
<Some apparent; again; due to the stress of isolation, exposure to low salt concentration>
I will begin with Selcon and I am also slowly lifting the salinity back to normal with fresh salt water.
<Good steps in the right direction>
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/HLLESWCure.htm
and the linked files above; as well as our bits on hypo. Bob Fenner>

Tang possibly has HLLE. - 05/11/2012
Hello once again WWMD crew,
So i just got a Purple tang, roughly 2 - 3 inches. So i thought it would be small enough to be in a quarantine tank of 10 gallons... Looks like the small tank has really stressed the fish out.
WWM: Likely so
So here is the series of events that has happened. During this entire process i have been giving an entire sheet of Nori soaked in Selcon, per day. And have been feeding with new life spectrum pellets and flakes.
Day 1 - looked fine at the LFS
Day 2 - Signs of ick started, so i dosed with Cupramine tested at 0.5 mg/l , (i may have jumped the gun here). Eye begins to start to look foggy.
Day 3 - No signs of ick, eye Starts to look really bad only left eye though, but it has really fogged up. So i did a 50% water change
Day 4 - Eye begins to heal up.
Day 5 - Eye fully healed.
Day 6 - Seems like scales are loosing <losing> pigmentation around eye and jaw line, kind of looks like white pinheads, they are pretty symmetrical with the other side of the face, Does HLLE have a symmetrical growth with the left and right side of the face?
WWM: Yes... aka neuromast destruction... the lateralis pores themselves are bilaterally symmetrical about the head and flank
Or is it typically a random type of growth. - A grayish spot appears close to the tail fin.
WWM: This last is something different. Very likely due to poor conditions in the too-small quarantine system
Also the scales look like they have a sort of suede texture the entire time, not sure if this is normal, as this is my first ever tang. So my thinking is this, I have a spare 30 gallon long tank that i will set up as a q/t this weekend, and move the tang to this tank. My concern is that the move might cause more stress than necessary to the tang. Should i just stick with the 10 q/t with consistent water changes? Or would the bigger tank be a better environment? Thank you for your time, Giancarlo
WWM: T'were it me, I'd dip/move the fish to the main/display... a risk, but worth it. Bob Fenner

Re: Tang possibly has HLLE.     5/18/12
Hey Bob,
Just wanted to give you an update on the Tang, carbon is completely out of system, and i have been feeding tang Nori soaked in Selcon, along with everything else it eats as i feed the other fish, anyway all visual signs of HLLE have cleared up and the tang looks great.
<Ah good>
Thanks for your time and help, next time i wont be so hasty to jump to you all for help, as it always seems to be patience and a clear mind that cures most problems.
- G
<An important lesson, that bears remarking. B>

Skin Disease?  Photos Attached  2/4/12
<Hello Lar>
Trying to identify the skim problem with this Tomini tang which is completing week 6 of a hypo treatment for Ich in the display tank.  The 2 other tank mates (yellow watchman goby and a pj cardinal) do not show symptoms.  The tang is eating well and otherwise acting normally.
<... "classical" HLLE... Please read here re:
and the linked files above re cures...>
I started Melafix 3
<Worse than worthless>
 days ago but cannot yet tell if it has done anything.
<Welcome. Likely the move to the main display, concurrent improvement in water quality, nutrition will see a reversal of this neuromast destruction syndrome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Skin Disease?  <no> Photos Attached, and Mud use disc.     3/1/12
Hi Bob,
<Hey Lar>
Thanks very much for taking the time to identify the problem (HLLE) and write.    Here's an update on very a very positive turnaround and some follow-up questions.
The Tomini tang is greatly improved (sorry no photo attached) with only a very small area now affected, he seems well on his way to a good and full recovery.  This was accomplished by addition of Selcon and the reintroduction of frozen Hikari Spirulina Brine Shrimp along with judicious dosing of garlic to each feeding.
 At the same time, the salt level (following hypo for Ich) has just recently been returned to normal 1.024/5.   The salt 'normal' for just a few days, I did see the HLLE symptoms diminishing at least a week ago.  So the turnaround has been fairly rapid.  Again, thank you for the diagnosis.
Here is why I am writing now:
During the hyposaline treatment for Ich in the display tank (with coral and inverts removed), the refugium rock and rubble was transferred to the coral holding tank (coral doing great!).  Of the original
Caulerpa and Chaeto refugium macroalgae, only the Chaeto survived.
<Just as well>
I've only recently read that the Caulerpa is sensitive to changes in salinity.
<Can be>
 In retrospect, I'd been smarter to have removed it before starting the hypo.  That damage done, I'm reassessing how to redo the refugium section (11.75" x 8" x 9.5") in my sump.
As I have more than ample live rock in the 65g display, I am inclined not have substrate (mud or sand) in the refugium.  Yesterday, I saw an established tank (at least 5 years old) and have spoken to different hobbyist - they both swear by Miracle Mud.  The hobbyist swears the Miracle Mud keeps his fish healthier.
<Have seen this as well. The originator/owner, Leng Sy is an old friend>
I've also seen on WetWebMedia where you have endorsed Leng Sy.  And, I've read Ecosystems claims regarding their mud and HLLE. 
<Ah yes>
There's still as much and controversy on the mud vs. sand vs. bare bottom refugium as there is about brands and types of
My questions: 
- Is Miracle Mud really any better or more effective than using CaribSea Mineral Mud or Walt Smith's Fiji Refugium mud?  Is mud necessary or very beneficial?
<Have read accounts praising all, but I have not seen any actual scientific testing, comparing these various products... But do know where I'd first look for such input. From the various bb, hobbyist forums... from actual users>
- Given large amounts of live rock in the display tank, is there any significant benefit to using any substrate in the refugium? 
<Mmm, yes; for sure there can be. What often happens in all types/kinds of human culture systems is "something" becomes rate limiting... having "mud" present can make up to large degrees by providing the chemical somethings, including rates of reaction/catalyst compounds. Think on this... for planted aquariums, dogs kept in kennels, canaries in a cage...>
- Maintenance seems easier without the refugium substrate, so I am not seeing the benefit outweigh the disadvantages.  And, assessing the advantages of one method over another seems mind boggling given how controversial this topic seems.
<Mmm, am happy for the discourse>
Thanks for advance for considered reply as well as your patience and dedication to science and hobby!
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

Coral Beauty with HLLE and Worms?? 2/21/12
Hello Again,
I have another question on one of my fish it my 150 gallon FOWLR tank - the coral beauty. I have started to feed NLS pellets around 8 weeks ago (alternate with frozen).
A couple of weeks ago I notice the poop is brown but a string at times.
Then last night, I noticed the string of poop on the coral beauty was white with last bit that came out brown. I read brown can be from too much food but white indicates a parasite.
<Can; not always>
Also, I believe the fish has HLLE.
<I agree>
Since using the NLS pellets, the color has gotten better and the HLLE (if that what it is) is better. What I think is HLLE is like pock marks (or holes in the head) on both sides of the head around the eyes.
Up until using the NLS pellets, the diet was not great. The coral beauty usually got what we left over from frozen mix.
<I see a good deal of highly competitive fish tankmates in your photos>
I do run activated carbon and have a grounding probe in the sump (I do not have a probe in the tank). I have no power heads or anything with electric running inside the display.
<Do see the recent literature linking carbon use and incidence of HLLE...
Maybe start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/HLLESWCauseF.htm
then onto the linked files above>
Attached are some pictures (four of the CB and one of the other fish).
I might try soaking the NLS pellets in Selcon. I rarely use the Selcon, but probably should.
<Yes; I would>
The CB has been in the display tank for around 5 months. The CB was QTed and treated with PraziPro and Quinine Sulfate during QT (I do not recall if I also used QuickCure at the time).
<Hopefully not. Too toxic>
Other fish in the tank were also previously treated with PraziPro.
Snowflake Eel had for 2 years
Porcupine Puffer had for 1 year 8 months
Red Breasted Wrasse in tank for 10.5 months
Coral Beauty Angel in tank for 5 months
Banana Wrasse in tank for 2.5 months
Niger Trigger in tank for 2.5 months
All the above were QTed and treated with Quinine Sulfate and PraziPro except for the puffer and the eel. However, while in the display I previously treated them with Cupramine and also Prazi pro. That treatment was probably 15 to18 months ago.
All fish seem fat and happy. The CB is harassed at times and there have been signs of the tail fin nipped pretty good, but this has grown back quickly.
Is the stringy poop a sign of a parasite?
<Again, not strictly positively correlated... as with ourselves... fecal appearance can be linked to emotional state, foods>
If so, is PraziPro in the display the best option? Looking at my records, I did treat the display with Prazi again around 7/8 months ago. I forget if it was just in case or I saw something. If my records are correct, this was before I put the CB in the display.
<I would not further treat w/ an Anthelminthic... Some live rock addition would help here... as would many aspects of improved water quality... from refugium use, DSB, RDP...>
If treating the display with PraziPro is not the best option, anything else I can do in the display or by moving the CB to a QT (will be a challenge)?
<I would not move the fishes>
Does PraziPro treat internal parasites or only external?
thanks again for the help.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Coral Beauty with HLLE and Worms?? 2/21/12
thank you. I will read through the link provided.
so the current recommendation is to not treat at this point? I just want to confirm.
<... read>
Also, you note some live rock additions. Do you mean for more hiding places?
<... no>
I do have around . I do have around 80 pounds of very porous live rock (Pukani from Bulk Reef Supply) plus 4 liters of Seachem Pond Matrix in my sump (wet/dry sump I took out bio balls). Of the 80 pounds of LR, around 20-30 of it is in the sump.
<I see... this is more than enough, and it's rather new/fresh>
My ammonia and nitrite are zero. nitrate down to 10ppm. Phosphate around zero. Salinity is around 1.0245 to 1.025. A couple of months ago it was lower (around 1.021)
<I'd keep this higher... see WWM re rationale>
and I have raised it over time. Temp ranges from 78 to 79.
I consistently do 20% water changes and do not recall the last time I skipped one.
thanks again,
<Welcome. B>
Re: Coral Beauty with HLLE and Worms?? 2/21/12

Thanks again. Already started reading.
I will not treat with PraziPro for now.
I will stop both my ROX Carbon and GFO for a month or two and see if that helps.
I will also start regularly soaking the NLS pellets and maybe frozen food with Selcon.
<Real good. B>

Re: Coral Beauty with HLLE and Worms??  2/25/12
Attached are some more pictures I took this morning of the stringy poop.
I wanted to run by you guys to see if it changes the opinion if this is a parasite or not.
<Can't tell from other than microscopic examination... feces look like they do for many different reasons>
I have held off on treating the tank with PraziPro per the below emails.
I have stopped the carbon and GFO since Tuesday and treating with Selcon hoping to solve the HLLE, but am concerned there is a parasite with the poop.
thanks again,
<... Welcome. BobF>

Re: Coral Beauty with HLLE and Worms??  2/25/12
ok.  so would you say it is best to hold off on treating for now as long as the fish is still swimming around and eating.
And just feed better with the NLS and Selcon?

Please... STOP SHOUTING! Re-key your msg. not in all cap.s and re-send. B
Subject: hhd and later line disease
RE: hhd and later line disease 8/2/10
ok ...I wasn't shouting, just wrote in caps..
<Ahh, this is indeed what I was referring to. Please read here (again):
Item 3b>
I have an African emperor angelfish that is 8 inches or so, she has developed hhd,lle. I was feeding her spectrum pellets and romaine
<... please see WWM re such terrestrial greens>
but I suppose that wasn't enuff nutritional value, so I switched to Hikari marine a..she is in a 220 with a lrg puffer and huma huma trigger...I do 60 gal water changes biweekly. its a fish only with no live rox, just living color pieces. she was housed with a lrg sohal 8n inch plus but I sold her about 2 wks ago. the puffer is about 8 inch and the trigger 5 or so inch, I use a wet/dry, uv ster.,reactor with seagel in it, chiller..plz help..
<... Please run your writing through spelling/grammar checking before sending... And read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/EmpAHlthF4.htm
and the linked files, elsewhere where you lead yourself, and here:
and the linked files above... And DO search before writing us per our instructions on how you found to write us period. Bob Fenner>
Re: hhd and later line disease..... 8/3/10

Ok let's try this again....I have an African Emperor Angelfish that is housed in a 220 gal. it's filtered with a wet/dry, skimmer, chiller, reactor filled with seagel. The decor is living color artificial coral, and the substrate is sand. The inhabitants are an 8 inch Cortez blue spotted puffer and a 5 inch Huma Huma. There was an 8 inch Sohal , but I sold her 2 weeks ago.
<Good. Two alpha fish of size in this volume is trouble>
They would beef with each other on occasion, but nothing serious. Then I was feeding her spectrum and Romaine lettuce. I tried soaking the pellets in Selcon and let them dry for a few hrs, then feed them. Was this the ok way of doing it?
<Is a help, but not a cure of itself>
Anyways, she never improved...I also feed the O.S.I. shrimp pellets, the puffer goes crazy for them. He wont even try the spectrum or anything else that I feed them. And also he will only go after pellets that are of a light brown color, nothing else, he used to eat anything I would put in there. Though he still eats hermits and crabs with gusto! Now for the angelfish, I'm going to switch to formula II and ocean nutrition seaweed along with the Hikari that I soak now in Selcon and VitaChem...
<Please read where you were referred to last time. B>
I do 60 gal water changes every 2 weeks and have 2 ground probes just in case in the wet/dry. One connected to the surge protector and the other to the outlet in the wall. Now I feed them Hikari Marine A since it has Vit C
in it, something spectrum left out. She has a voracious appetite and eats everything I put in there. Please tell me if my game plan is on the right track or not...many thanks...Phil
Re: hhd and later line disease -- 8/3/10

ok.... I will do what I read in the article that you mentioned earlier. I appreciate your help..Phil
<Your (nutrition) plan as stated is good... but you'd do well to do what you can practically do to improve water quality altogether. Please do make/take some good photos of your Pomacanthus now... and track its progress. Cheers, B>

Emperor Angel and HLLE 6/15/10
Hey Guys,
<Hello Jimmy>
Been a long time since I asked a question. I have had a 180 Gallon FOWLER for 12 years. (Inhabitants 10" Emperor Angel ( 6 yrs old , 7 " Blue Girdle Angel 6 years old , 10" Naso Tang 11 years old, 4" Heniochus Butterfly 11 years old, Fox Face, 12 years old, 2 brittle stars )
<Wow, really good ages some of these, well done!>
All going well until approx 3 days ago. Emp. Angel has quit eating, but still behaving normally.
<Mmm, Pomacanthus not eating is not behaving normally>
Maybe hiding a bit more, but hard to say. (Comes to top of tank during feeds, approaches food with interest, pecks at it and then backs away)
<This does not seem good to me>
When I approach tank it swims to the feeding corner, but does not assume the position of dominance like it did in the past to get first crack at the food. All other inhabitants doing well.
Emperor Angel has had HLLE but not that badly (some cratering around nostrils, mild loss of coloration around face but no visible lateral line disease. Only other thing that I have noted is that the mouth/ lips is just a bit swollen but not reddened or obviously traumatized.
<May have been in a tussle with one of the others. Can you provide a picture of this?>
It almost seems as if "it hurts" for the fish to open its mouth. I have used multiple food sources to no avail.
I have had a busy work schedule recently, but have changed water once every 4-6 weeks, on a couple of times went 8-10 weeks.
<With these fish in this volume, this is far too little. I would be stepping these up to weekly>
Recently I have made a major water change (80 gallons ) with aged mixed R/O salt. And from there have been doing small partial water changes daily ( 20 Gallons )
System has been closed to new inhabitants for over 5 years. Emperor Angel has no other signs of disease...to look at it, other than the mild protuberance of the mouth, no signs of disease. I am almost thinking that the mouth has suffered trauma, but I see no evidence of any abrasions, or redness, just the mild swelling of the lips.
I will continue doing partial water changes daily, until it hopefully starts to feed. Try vitamins, iodine supplements, Selcon.. but food supplements don't do much good if not eating.
Any other suggestions
<Yes, moving this fish to another system, a larger and less crowded one. I suspect a tank-mate as the culprit here.. perhaps the Naso, although it could be that this fish psychologically just needs more room now and it is telling you this with it's change of behaviour. I do think that 180 gallons, even un-crowded, is too small for P. Imperator. Another possibility is that this is just an injury of some kind and will heal on it's own in time>
<No worries>

Re: Emperor Angel and HLLE 6/16/10
Thanks Simon,
<No problem Jimmy>
I completely agree on the water changes. The Emperor has been such a gladiator of a fish
<Indeed so>
and the king ( or queen ) of the tank for years. I have been reefkeeping for 25 years and it is my impression that this fish is either traumatized, <Probably> getting old <No. These can live 30 years>, or outgrown the house (or a combination).
<Likely the first and last here>
It gives me the impression that it is really hungry but cannot bring itself to eat!
<The mouth looks swollen to me, but with no sign of an injury. I wonder if Bob might have some input here.. will post to his box for his comments if he has any>
If water conditions or trauma are the culprit, it should be able to recover nicely.
<Yes, it should>
I will send a picture.
<I see these, and apart from the swollen mouth and Neuromast destruction the fish looks otherwise healthy. I think time is on your side here, but ultimately this fish needs more room than is being provided. The HLLE is a clue to the unsuitability of the environment http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-06/sp/index.php http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm?h=>
<No prob.s>
Re: Emperor Angel and HLLE 6/16/10

Here are some pictures
What do you think
<Is HLLE in one of its guises... "cures" as Simon states can be found in the linked pages. BobF>

Re: Emperor Angel and HLLE 6/17/10
Bob, Simon,
Thanks so much for your responses.
<No problem>
As of today the Emp Angel is still not eating. I don't know how long it can go like this before winding down?
<By the look of the fish, a couple of weeks at least>
I went back and looked at pictures of this fish when I first adopted it, and I must say, it looked a bit more vibrant 5-6 years ago. I agree, captivity has taken its toll on this animal. Curiously, however, there is a Naso Tang as well as a Majestic Angel in the same system that are as vibrant and as healthy as the day they were adopted.
<Mmm, the Navarchus grows a lot smaller than the Emperor -- not only in length, but overall body mass, so does not have the same space considerations. If you are talking about N. lituratus, this also needs more space than this, but Emperor Angels are sensitive fish, despite their sometimes pugnacious and seemingly bulletproof behaviour. They require more care than N. Lituratus and suffer more easily from stress & it's related maladies such as HLLE>.
To look at the Emperor Angel and to track its behaviour, one would hardly think that there was anything wrong. The fish still swims to the top of the tank when I stand in front of the aquarium and has a very natural and flowing demeanor to its motion. In no way do I sense a panic or skittish behaviour. As an avid reef keeper and physician of 25 years, other than the lack of feeding and the HLLE, it is difficult to tell that there is anything wrong here.
<I would 'change' something here, either by removing this fish to another system, or a/ some of the others (the Naso & Navarchus are the prime candidates) at least temporarily to see if you can get the animal to feed in a less crowded setting>
I have been able to recover fish from illness in the past. The Naso and Majestic are prime examples. Years ago when the tank was first established, I had an outbreak of crypt and then HLLE after copper treatment. All fish were QT'd, the display was left sans fish for 8 weeks and the fish were slowly reintroduced. HLLE went away and all have been " visibly disease free" since. Presently, the fact that the other inhabitants of the system are so robust and without even a hint of HLLE is a bit of a mystery.
<Mmm, this can build up unseen for a while, only presenting signs later on. Your other fish could be on their way to visible symptoms also here>
So, my advice to myself at this point is to exercise patience and good fish husbandry.
<Oh yes>
WWM and experience has taught me this. Daily partial water changes, varied diet and TLC is about all I can offer.
<I think one/ other needs to be moved here. Preferably the Imperator'¦ to an uncrowded 8 foot+ system sans large aggressive fishes. Have you tried NLS pellet food? Thera A, supplemented w/ Nori soaked in vitamins + Beta Glucan, some red macroalgae also http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/sept2003/feature.htm >
The rest is out of my hands. I am thankful that this captive slice of the sea has provided so much enjoyment for me as well as my family.
<Maybe it's time to pay this fish back in kind'¦ with a larger or at least less crowded home>
Thanks Guys, I will let you know how things turn out
<Good luck Jimmy>
Re: Emperor Angel and HLLE 6/17/10
Emp Angel still in no eat mode...shows interest in food, approaches to take a nip and then pulls back. How long can a marine fish "otherwise healthy" live without eating ?
<Depends on the individual fish and species... to 'stay alive' a good few weeks here. To stay alive AND be able to recover.. a couple of weeks tops for large Pomacanthus. As posted, I would change 'something' here>

Re: Emperor Angel and HLLE 6/22/10
Hey Guys,
<Hi Jimmy>
Just a bit of an update re : Emperor Angel still not eating (been 8 days ) . HLLE is a bit worse.
<Mmm, need to act then>
Rest of the inhabitants in display are thriving and eating no problem. The display has had "reef-like" water parameters for the past week.
<Would be doing 2- 3 water changes per week here>
I am making arrangements to move the fish to a larger tank,
but there is some hesitation on the others accepting the fish given the fact that the fish is not eating.
<It is great that you recognise that action of some kind is required. What other fish are in this larger system and how large is it?>
In the meantime I have set up a 55 g tank as a quarantine of sorts.
Unfortunately, despite trying to jump start the nitrogen cycle with rock and media from the main display, as of day 3 the QT is running very high ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates.
<Of no use at present then. Have you tried the bottled bacteria products?>
I had a wet dry filter running back onto itself ( pumping from sump to media ) that I would occasionally do water changes from the main display with waste laden water siphoned from the substrate of the main display to the wet dry to provide necessary waste to keep the wet dry cycled. I also used 55 gallons of water from the display (mostly from substrate siphoning) to start the QT. The fact that ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all very high at 60 hours indicates that the QT already has high populations of Nitrosomonas, and Nitrobacter present and hopefully will cycle soon.
I will then transfer the Emperor to this system, while I am in the process of finding a new home.
<This could go either way.. sometimes moving the fish to a different system halts the progress of HLLE, but this is a much smaller system, with all the drawbacks of such, and you are populating it with stock from your existing system. Moving the Emperor here might not relieve any stress on the fish, potentially it will just add new/ different stressors, and the last thing he needs now is exposure to ammonia. Once this QT is cycled, you could consider temporarily moving one/ more of the others here instead, and trying to get the Emperor to feed where it is now in the main system until you can move it to a larger home. If there is more live rock available in the 180 as well, then this will be of more benefit to the Emperor if he decides to graze. Do you have any more live rock w/ good growth that can be placed here as well? Maybe some from a sump area>
At this point I am not optimistic, but hoping that in isolation with optimal water conditions I can nurse this fish back to health.
<Let's hope so!>
We will see how it goes. Any other suggestions from the experts would be welcome!

Re: Emperor Angel and HLLE 6/23/10
Thanks Simon,
<No problem Jimmy>
All excellent points, all of which, I am taking into consideration. Though I want to save the Emperor, I also have a concern for the other animals in the system. The last thing I need is to risk widespread disease in a closed system that is brought on by a weak fish.
<Mmm, no. HLLE is not 'catching', is environmental, and the fish looks otherwise healthy>
Alas, I really do need to move here since I have started to notice some very mild aggression toward the Emperor by others in the tank.
<What you perceive is only a small part of what is happening betwixt the fishes>
They sense there will soon be a change in the pecking order.......overall a very natural behavior. It is my sense that the QT will be ready for fish soon ( 3-4 days ) and then I will go from there. The QT is really not a "new" system, I just probably overwhelmed the wet dry filter by using water obtained by siphoning debris from substrate from the display. SO the irony here is that I am dealing with two cycles.......the wait for the QT to cycle and the cycle of life in the display.
One final question, I have two brittle stars in the main display that have gotten quite large. They are not of the green variety, rather the flesh is pink with gray bristles. They do a great job scavenging. The fish seem to stop and stare a bit before moving through an area that is occupied by them but otherwise seem undaunted. Are these a threat to the fish in the tank?
<No, these are beneficial scavengers http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestars.htm>
Should I look for a new home for them also?
<These are fine here>
Pretty obvious here that as I inventory my tank, it looks like I have been a victim of my own success. As I look over pictures from six years ago ALL of the inhabitants have grown tremendously!
<Indeed, but you have stocked with some large growers>
<No problem>

Re: Emperor Angel and HLLE 6/28/10
Need some expert advice. I could not find anyone to adopt the Emperor Angel. I had to take just about every rock out of the main display to eventually guide it into a Plexiglas container, with a bit of thrashing afterward. Is this the method you would use?
<I use a large plastic colander for large fishes, especially Angels, guided in with a net>
The fact that the fish is not eating was a major deterrent to it being adopted.
It is now housed in a 75G ( 48x20x18 ) quarantine tank.
<Mmm, as I previously stated, I would have preferred to leave this fish in the display and temporarily remove the others until it started to feed>
24 hours after the move, the fish settled down. It now swims about. Once again, shows interest in food, approaches as if to take a nibble and then jerks back. To the best of my knowledge it has not eaten for at least 14, maybe a couple of days longer.
<Mmm, is the fish thinning at all?>
It is unlikely that this fish is going to survive, long term.
<I do think there is hope still here>
Though not eating, as long as the fish shows even some interest in food....Is it therefore fair to say there is still a chance?
<Yes - a good one>
What is the longest you have ever seen a fish like this go on a hunger strike and survive?
<I have never had a fish go on a feeding strike for this length of time.>
I am still trying to find a new home for this animal...other than that is there anything else that you would advise me to do?
<Keep persevering with different foods.. keep the water quality up.. I would have left this fish where there was live rock present, but...>
<No problem>

Re: Emperor Angel and HLLE 6/29/10
Unfortunately, I do not have multiple tanks set up to house the others in the display. Difficult decision to push a 75 gallon system with a 10" Naso, 7" Foxface 6 " Majestic and 4" Heniochus...would run the risk of overwhelming the filter.
<One of the drawbacks to putting too many large fish into too small systems>
I understand that would have been best for the Emperor, though. I even considered up sizing to a 96x24x24 display, but as Angels can also outgrow such a system, also.
<This, uncrowded, the barest minimum I would say for this fish or the Naso>
The fish is thinning out but it was very fat to begin with and could easily eat 2 ocean nutrition cubes for breakfast. The new system does have some live rock in it, though, not as extensive.
<I would persevere here.. as long as the fish is not thinning around the head & eyes there is hope yet>
I will continue to offer foods and keep water quality up. I am pleasantly surprised at how well a fan blowing across the top of the tank cools the water by evaporation. My garage is 85 degrees but tank temp is 78.
Is the colander that you use semi circular or cylindrical in shape?
<Is a circular one.. You need to find one that has smooth edges to the holes & rim.. perhaps stainless steel is an option as well. Use a net to guide the fish in, a little tricky sometimes, but negates the possibility of damage to the gill spines>
<No problem, Simon>

Re: Emperor Angel and HLLE 7/2/10
Hey Simon,
<Hey Jimmy>
Thanks for all of your help.
<No problem!>
I have done much thinking over the past few weeks and I have decided to upgrade my tank.
<Well, that's just marvelous news! Me, I LOVE big tanks ;)>
I will be moving from a 24x24x72 (180g) display to a 24x24x96 (240g )size.
As I read on WWM, I completely realize that any size tank can be out grown by its inhabitants, so I will definitely keep my stocking density low, lower in fact than it is now in the 180.
<Well done.. your fishes will thank you for it>
I am not going to rush into this transition which means that I may have to find a new home for a couple of my fish. (10" Naso Tang is way too big for a 24x24x72 display, and probably likewise for the 96x24x24.
I have been involved in the hobby so long that I will not really need to invest in much more than the tank, which will still be a chunk of change.
<Costly indeed.. my latest glass box set me back nearly £3,500>
So, my question to you here, is there another tank size that I should consider ( FOWLR )?
<For the fishes that you have now? The bigger the better. For the Navarchus, Heniochus & a couple of smaller others? The new size you state will be fine>
I understand that the difference between an 8 ft tank and a 6 foot tank is a pretty big jump in fishkeeping terms.
<To the fishes it will make a bigger difference, and an 8ft tank IS impressive to view>
Would a 300g size of the same length but a bit taller be an equal incremental jump (as the jump from my 180 to the 240).
<No, as surface area is more important than depth. Given the choice though I would go an extra few inches in height here myself anyway, but if you could expand the width some 3-6 inches or more as well this will make a much bigger difference and give a much nicer look/ feel to the system.>
I know I have said this many times before, but I really want for this to be my last tank purchase.
<Then I really would have a think and see if you can widen the tank some.. gives a sensational impression of depth and opens up far more aquascaping possibilities.>
Thanks Jimmy
<No problem Jimmy. Simon>

Re: Emperor Angel and HLLE -- 7/12/10
Hey Simon,
<Mmm, he's marked "out till 8/2. Has asked that others resp. in his place. Howdy!>
Just wish to update you on the Emperor Angel. Unfortunately, I could not find anyone interested in taking the fish since it was not eating. And to update you I moved it into a 75 G tank in my garage. In retrospect, you were right, that the thing to do was either to move this fish to a larger system or to move some of the other fish in the tank to another system.
<Yes. Have been reading you twos corr. while placing it.>
Unfortunately, this was not possible for me. After the move the fish perked up for a day or two and 4 weeks into its hunger strike it actually did eat two krill. Unfortunately, that was a week ago, and the hunger strike continues. Aside from this feeding, this fish has not eaten in 5 + weeks. It is thinning out and losing tissue ( MHLLE ) between the eyes as well as between the spines of the dorsal fins. It still orients to me when I walk into the room and seems less interested in even approaching food. Things do not look very good for this animal and I really hate to see it like this. Even though it still swims around the tank, I sense that the end is near. I am not sure what else I can do at this point to ease any suffering, but lesson learned here.
<Mmm, have you tried an open bivalve yet? Perhaps with a bit of appetite enhancer (e.g. SeaChem's Vitality) soaked on it for a few minutes?>
It seems pretty clear to me now that this fish may have stopped eating secondary to insufficient space. I looked over my log and notes that this fish was purchased as a 5" adult in 2004. 18 mo.s ago, at 9.5 inches the first signs of a lack of space manifested as HLLE. And 5 weeks ago silently just stopped eating. My understanding of the life cycles of these fish in the ocean is that at some point they "migrate" to deeper parts of the reef.
<Mmm, I've encountered full-size adults of this species in a few tens of feet depths all over its range>
So it all comes down to available real estate. For humans this lack of space would be kind of like sleeping in a bed that is too small...can survive but never with truly restful sleep.
<A useful model>
Which leads me to believe that these fish need to be kept in tanks that are much larger than what most people have available in their homes.
<Yes... I suggest a minimum of 300 uncrowded gallons for large Pomacanthids>
Unbelievable, considering the popularity of this beautiful animal. I am not sure how old this is by my best guess anywhere from 8-10 years ( 3-4 years when I got it and I have had it for six )
<Welcome... Do have a read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/emperorfdgfaqs.htm
and the linked files above, if you haven't already. Bob Fenner>
Re: Emperor Angel and HLLE 7/13/10

Nice to hear from you again! I do not know if you remember, but I am the one years ago that really thought hyposalinity worked for crypt when I brought the imperator in to begin with!
<I seem to recall...>
I went back and read our posts, and I must say , very nice correspondence.
Amazingly, tonight I put this fish back in the 180g FOWLR. Even in it's weakened state, it assumed dominance, again, and ate ...after a 5 week hunger strike.
<Ahh, great!>
We will see how things go from here, but I have a suspicion that this animal may be slowing down due to it's age.
What a beautifully graceful animal! I feel badly as these creatures really do belong in the wild.
<Mmm, I do want to make a def. statement here: It is my sense that the sacrifice/use of "some" part of the living world is merited "IF" said use serves to inform, inspire humans re our world>
Though I love the hobby, I am, over the past couple of years beginning to feel against keeping such animals in captivity.
Over the past 20 years I have kept just about every marine fish that I have had a desire to keep. Perhaps it is time for me to go full circle and keep damsels or others that are better suited to the captive marine environment.
<I keep fancy goldfish, and sparse few tropicals>
<Thank you Jimmy. BobF>

HLLE 9/21/10
Hey Crew,
<Hello again Jimmy>
Thanks for your diligence in maintaining the site.
<Mostly the work of others not I, but thank you!>
I have a 180G FOWLR that has an Emperor Angelfish ( 10" ) Majestic ( 6" ) and Heniochus Butterfly ( 4 " ) the Emperor has moderately severe case of HLLE that I have been battling for years.
<I remember>
I have increased water change frequency to 5% twice weekly and tried everything in the book to treat this, to no avail.
<Moving the Emperor I seem to remember was my advice, to a larger system. Otherwise reducing any stressors on the fish, such as harassment. I seem to remember you also had a Naso tang here, or am I mistaken?>
I have noted that the butterfly has a mild case that primarily causes degeneration of the long extension of the dorsal fin. With aggressive water changes etc over the years I have noted that the dorsal fin "banner" extension is a great indicator of water quality.
<Mmm, water quality should not be allowed to deteriorate so that it physically affects the fishes>
I have tried feeding Nori with Selcon, a varied diet.
<Have you tried NLSpectrum pellets? Beta Glucan added to the vitamins? Some real 'daylight' hitting the tank? Creating a nice large cave for the fish to hide under, as in the wild if you observe these fishes they will hover under ledges etc. Reduce the stress on the fish in any way you can, but ultimately 180 gallons is too small no matter what you do>
There is ~ 200 lbs of LR in the tank and I do not have an algae problem.
I have had the experience of noticing that when I use ozone and carbon, this seems to exacerbate the HLLE after 2-3 days.
<Interesting observations.. I have/ had/ do use both as well with no such results>
I run two sumps with bioballs
<Contributors to nitrate here>
two Euroreef skimmers ( CS 135's ) I have read that carbon is implicated as a possible cause, though controversial.
<Implicated yes, proven no>
In my system there is no controversy on this "phenomenon" as when carbon ( 1 lb ) is used for over a day or two I see progression of HLLE. Ozone seems to make matters worse. Is it common to see this with ozone and carbon?
<No. Perhaps the use of these might possibly 'tip the balance', but there are other causes that are the main contributor here>
Is there anything that I can supplement to help things?
<Posted, but this is an environmental problem. Fix the environment that the fish is living in>
Recently I started carbon dosing the tank with vodka, small amounts with weekly increases. The Nitrate level is slowly going down from initially 40 PPM
<Far too high for this fish, a contributor>
to currently 20- 30 PPM. It seems that the HLLE is improving and there has been pronounced regeneration of the butterfly's dorsal fin. Can nitrates at 40 PPM ( or higher ) cause contribute to HLLE ?
<Of course. Water quality is part of this fishes environment. Nitrate wants to be below 10>
Has carbon dosing with lowering nitrate levels been linked to improvement in HLLE?
<However the water quality is improved, it does not matter, improving water quality often yields good results. If nitrates are your issue and you have exhausted other avenues http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm?h= you might consider one of the denitrator units on this FOWLR. There are two types, sulphur or not, either might help but if going the bacteria route you will want a RedOx computer to go with it. Pricey.>
<No problem>
Re: HLLE 9/21/10
Tis you again !
<Tis I! Once more unto the breach my friends!>
I have a larger tank on order.
<That is marvelous news!>
The saga of the Emperor Angel is amazing. I actually followed your instruction.
<Probably one of the first who did ;)>
And after a 10 week hunger strike the fish started eating again.
<10 weeks? I am surprised the fish made it at all>
In my 40 years of fish keeping I have never seen such. It is now king of the tank again, eating like a pig, aggressive as ever. The problem as best I can surmise is that it had either a gallbladder problem or a partial bowel obstruction.
<I trust you had Bobs help determining this? Difficult to diagnose>
I had initially QT'd the fish after a 6-8 weeks of hunger strike. It did not eat in the QT. After writing you ,you stated that I should put it back in the display, and I did. I opened up the rock work, took a couple of fish out and gave the fish more room.
<Good work>
I brought water parameters up before putting the fish back in the display. Within 2 days it started eating again, but looked like it was in pain after eating pellet food ( would rear back and try to regurgitate ) but it started eating. Hunger strike is now over but I have been intentionally overfeeding to build the fish back up.
<Understood, and what I would also do, this fish must be thin.>
And it is now the emperor of the tank again. An amazing , true, fish story. I know I have things that I need to change but I must be doing something right.
Unfortunately, it is taking forever for me to get my new tank.
<Does always seem to take forever, sometimes even with the best intentions this never happens. Better to plan for what you have now, rather than what you might have later>
<Do keep persevering Jimmy, and don't give up on the bigger tank.. this fish needs it. Simon>

Re: HLLE 9/21/10
<Keep at it Jimmy.. Please don't embed your answers into the messages in future as these are difficult for others to follow and also difficult for Bob to post to the dailies/ faq pages for other's benefit. Thank you, Simon><<Thank you Simon. BobF>>
Tis you again !
<Tis I! Once more unto the breach my friends!>
I have a larger tank on order.
<That is marvelous news!>
The saga of the Emperor Angel is amazing. I actually followed your instruction.
<Probably one of the first who did ;)>
And after a 10 week hunger strike the fish started eating again.
<10 weeks? I am surprised the fish made it at all>
In my 40 years of fish keeping I have never seen such. It is now king of the tank again, eating like a pig, aggressive as ever. The problem as best I can surmise is that it had either a gallbladder problem or a partial bowel obstruction.
<I trust you had Bobs help determining this? Difficult to diagnose>
<< Not really, as you may recall I am an doctor. The fish feces were white and it looked bloated. I was confident I was not dealing with parasites as the system has been closed for many years. While in the QT the fish passed what looked and felt like a piece of gravel. It took three days to pass from the time it appeared at the vent...this was probably obstructing the intestines, or a gallstone that the fish passed on its own >>
I had initially QT'd the fish after a 6-8 weeks of hunger strike. It did not eat in the QT. After writing you ,you stated that I should put it back in the display, and I did. I opened up the rock work, took a couple of fish out and gave the fish more room.
<Good work>
I brought water parameters up before putting the fish back in the display.
Within 2 days it started eating again, but looked like it was in pain after eating pellet food ( would rear back and try to regurgitate ) but it started eating. Hunger strike is now over but I have been intentionally overfeeding to build the fish back up.
<Understood, and what I would also do, this fish must be thin.>
And it is now the emperor of the tank again. An amazing , true, fish story. I know I have things that I need to change but I must be doing something right.
Unfortunately, it is taking forever for me to get my new tank.
<Does always seem to take forever, sometimes even with the best intentions this never happens. Better to plan for what you have now, rather than what you might have later>
<<Yep, I ordered an acrylic tank, they said it would be ready in 8 weeks..that was 10 weeks ago.>>
<Do keep persevering Jimmy, and don't give up on the bigger tank.. this fish needs it. Simon>

HLE Suggestions 5/15/10
I have a 90 gallon SW tank, 100 #'s live rock, 4" DSB. Up since Jan (was established before then with prior owner) You guys have helped me through Quinine Sulfate treatment on my Blue Tang, THANKS! Now the same tang appears to have HLE.
<Appears to be the beginnings of>
When I first got the fish it would not touch Nori, he ate any frozen food, and flakes, no pellets. I've fed a variety of Mysis, frozen form 2, Spirulina brine, marine cuisine, and 1 and 2 flakes. I finally got him eating purple sea veggies brand Nori about 2 weeks ago (the same time the first spots of HLE had shown up) Last week I got Selcon and vita chem, and am soaking food in one of those each day (rotating).
I also purchased Emerald Cuisine Frozen (he likes) and Spectrum pellets (which it doesn't seem to eat).
<Give this time>
I added a grounding probe,
<Mmm, usually not of use>
I do weekly PWC's of about 6 gallons. I run a smallish skimmer and a UV, along with a Tidepool sump. I use Seachem's phos guard, as well as Purigen. My water tests Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, and Nitrates are now 0 (used to run around 10-20). I'm wondering what I'm missing to help the fish,
<Likely just time going by... though DSB, "mud" use can be useful adjuncts>
I tried to attach a picture but he dives in the rock when I get the camera out. Do I need to treat for a bacterial infection?
Any suggestions are welcome. I do have a QT cycled and running with a gramma and 2 sharknose gobies, they've been in QT for 3 weeks doing well. I "could"
move them to the DT if I need to treat the tang in the QT.
Thanks, Pam Speck
<I would just continue w/ your current practices; not move, "treat". Bob Fenner>

Angelfish with HLLE? 4/16/10
My juvenile Koran angelfish ended up dying a few days ago (probably not HLLE related). It was suggested through this and many forums that it had HLLE. I took some close up pictures because nothing on line is that
detailed. Through your experience.... ...is this HLLE (pic's attached) or does it look like something else I might need to treat in my DT.
<Is very likely this syndrome... Not really "catching", and most other fish groups/families are far less susceptible to the condition from nutrient or poor water issues>
FYI: All water parameters were optimal
I appreciate all of your help.
Thank you,
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/SWHLLEcases.htm
and the linked files are HLLE above. Bob Fenner>

Note the BGA...

Sick Hippo Tang question 1/27/10
<Hello Adam>
I have a Hippo Tang that seems to be suffering from HLLE. His symptoms are holes above and below his eyes and along his lateral line (they are getting bigger). <Ok>
He still has an absolutely wild appetite and only hides when spooked by out of tank sources, he spends most of the time "schooling" with the two clowns he shares the tank with.
<Nice behaviour to watch!>
I have taken some steps to cure him, but nothing seems to be helping.
The Nitrate levels are higher than desirable <a factor>, so I have started doing smaller and more frequent water changes, I also purchased a protein skimmer.
<Mmmm, you should have had one of these from the start>
I got him to finally eat seaweed by tearing it up and soaking it in Mysis shrimp before feeding (he doesn't take seaweed from a clip). His diet consists of Mysis shrimp, seaweed, and flake food.
<Ok. There is no proof as to what actually causes this condition, but improving the diet and environment can bring about a halting and/ or a reversal. I would start with the diet here: Cut out the flake and replace with a decent pellet food such as New Life Spectrum. Feed this as the staple with a little Mysis every few days. I would soak the seaweed (Nori?) in a vitamin supplement (something like Selcon) before feeding daily as well. Don't overfeed so that it affects your water quality though>.
It has been several months with what I believe is HLLE and I don't know what else to do. I heard that activated carbon can be a problem (which is what I use), what can I use instead if it actually is the cause?
<Mmmm, I am not convinced by this 'carbon as the cause' argument. I use carbon continuously and my fish have never suffered from this condition. I have also bought 'second hand' fishes with this condition and halted/ reversed it. The only way I see carbon as being a cause would be if it 'removed' some 'mysterious but necessary' element. If you do your water changes regularly then you should be replenishing anything lost. As stated, there is no proof for any cause, but IMO a clue is that a) Wild fish don't get this at all, and b) Improving the environment & diet works. Fishes like Tangs & Angels need space, give them this and a decent diet and you should see things right>.
My Hippo Tang shares his tank with two clowns, two Firefish, and a coral banded shrimp, all of which are healthy.
<In what size tank?>
The water parameters are (non reef):
<Non-reef systems commonly show this problem on fishes (environment). Do you have live rock w/ algae growth? If not, I would suggest adding some>
Nitrate - 40 ppm
<Too high and probably a contributing factor>
Nitrite - 0
pH - 8.0 to 8.5
Specific Gravity - 1.021
<Too low -- I would gradually raise this to 1.025 -- 1.026>
Temperature - 76 degrees F
Thank you
<No problem, I think there are a few things you can do. Try reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/HLLESWCauseF.htm>

Re: 26/01/2010 Sick Hippo Tang question 2/3/10
Hi again
<Hi Adam>
I just wanted to thank you for the advice on helping my Hippo Tang with HLLE.
<I like helping fishes so it is no bother!>
The specific gravity has been raised, and the nitrate levels are finally going down.
The holes along his lateral line are actually healing (no healing on his head yet though).
<Really? Already? Excellent news, as this usually happens very slowly over a period of weeks, months>.
You asked me about live rock, the answer to your question is yes I have some, but not much. I have set up a spot to start curing more live rock, but have not bought any yet.
<Good, this will add much in the way of 'goodness' to your tank, both seen and unseen>
There is algae growth on the live rock and elsewhere in the tank.
There is green hair algae (which I have to remove by hand), but there is also a beautiful purple algae all over the live rock.
<Coralline algae. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corallinealg.htm>
Is the purple algae good for the tank because I would love to keep it?
<Yes, is desirable>
After everything settles down in my tank for a while, I think I would like to purchase a new fish.
<Hmmm, ok>
I am leaning towards a Blenny, specifically a Lawnmower or a Scooter. I was nervous about possible aggression towards my Firefish. Do you have any advice on which would be a better addition to my tank?
<Lawnmower Blennies (Salarias) can be aggressive. Scooter Blennies will fit much better here, but you need to ensure you have plenty of 'live' food in the way of plankton in your system to support them: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm>
Thank you again
<No problem Adam>

Need help with lesions on emperor angel 2/18/09
Hello, crew:
This will be a long email but I want to give you full info of my tank, inhabitants, and diet. I have a 600 gallon tank with approx. 150 g sump tank that contains 650 lbs of live rock and the following livestock:
5" juvenile emperor angel
8" queen angel
6" miniatus grouper
8" panther grouper
9" Volitans lion
5" porcupine puffer
12" Naso tang
6" powder blue tang
7" Lunare wrasse
6" harlequin wrasse
13" snowflake eel
5" blue cheek trigger
5" niger trigger
6" pink tail trigger
very large red hermit
crab (none of the fish even try anything with him)
no other inverts
I feed the fish quite a varied diet as follows: twice a day I feed a varied combo of Nori alga, angel formula with sponge frozen cube food, life line frozen cube with Spirulina, mysis shrimp, prime flake food, spectrum pellets, Dainichi marine and veggie pellets. I mix and match all these foods during each feeding so I don't overfeed. I make sure the amount given at each feeding is fully consumed within 4-5 min. Every M, W, F, I feed meaty foods consisting of squid, krill, clam, scallops, and silversides. I don't just drop the meaty foods in, but rather try to focus on getting them to the groupers, lion, and puffer. I feed the eel and hermit one piece each with tongs M, W, and F. The wrasses and triggers always get some too as they are so fast. I don't feed any live foods or freeze dried foods. I soak the foods in Zoecon (soon I will try Selcon as I have some on order) and Kent marine Vit C. The water parameters are as follows:
nitrate 20-30 ppm, nitrite undetectable, pH 8-8.4, temp 76, SG 1.021-1.022, <Too low...>
calcium 420 ppm.
<And Mg?>
I do run a carbon filtration system (uncertain of exact size/model), UV filter, and ozonizer with orb controller that reads out 380-430 (generally reads about 400). I don't add any iodide or calcium or magnesium specifically to the water. I don't know exact skimmer make but there are two and each is rated for 600 gallons. Don't know exact watt of lighting but is a combination of actinic and VHO bulbs set up to give very nice visibility. No chiller, the water remains at 76 F by itself with two heaters. Tank was set up about 1 year ago and fish have been in it for about 10 months. All fish (including emperor angel-see below) have very healthy appetites and body mass. I have not found one type of food that every single fish in there will not go crazy for during feeding. My groupers go nuts over alga and sponges, and don't spit it out either. The queen angel occasionally chases the emperor and Naso for maybe 1-2 seconds and then forgets about them. The Naso seems to ignore this. The emperor moves away and then immediately continues doing what he was doing when the queen loses interest. This has never resulted in a fin damage or body damage that I have seen. Have had no disease outbreaks thus far (see below comments). All the fish seem to get along well and appear to be acting completely normal. The tank gets a 20% water change every 2-3 weeks.
Now that you have the info, here is my main question: I need help figuring out what is affecting my emperor angel. I included some pics for you to see. I figure it is HLLE vs. hole in the head,
<Yes... neuromast destruction...>
but can't tell which one. The lesions are very symmetric over his face and around his mouth; and they started about 4 months ago, gradually.
You really can't tell one side of his face from the other (lesions are very symmetric). Also, you will see the lesions going up his gill margins. As you can see, he is in the process of going toward adult coloration. Not sure if his pale looking face is just part of that change too, but it seems almost translucent to me, rather than a healthy white of the adult (his face is normally more pale and white than shown on the pics). And the pics may not show it, but I can almost imagine a slight red tinge around his mouth area (which I have read is a dietary deficiency issue). The lesions look like deep pitted acne scars and he has one or two perfectly round "holes" near his eyes. Again, all very symmetric. Absolutely no lesions along his body or lateral line area.
Over the last couple of weeks, I think I am noticing two extremely tiny (1-2 mm size) holes under the chin area of the queen angel now. These too are symmetric (one on each side of midline) They are so tiny, however, that I am not sure that they aren't just a normal marking or something. The queen has beautiful and full perfect fins and adult coloration otherwise. None of the other fish show any detectable variances off of their normal coloration/markings, etc from the wild.
All (including the angels) have perfect fins and clear eyes.
I have been adding some Hikari Metro+ to some of the frozen cube food in 3 day treatment cycles. I have done this for 2 three day cycles. I am just not sure what else to do or how long it should take to see some improvement. This is all a little tricky because the angel's face is white as an adult so I don't know how much of this is normal coloration change. Even though I suspect most if not all of this is HLLE or hole in head. I am kinda at my wits end. I thought I would be able to take care of this angelfish in this system by supplying appropriate diet, etc. I guess I may fall in with all the other aquarists in that I should not try to keep an angel. I just don't know what else to do here.
Thanks for any
<Does seem unusual... given the foods you list, the use of Zoecon... to have such a pronounced nutritional deficiency syndrome here... Do you have another system you could move this Angel to? Otherwise... perhaps the Selcon will help... I would supplement Iodide-ate maybe weekly with water changes... And possibly add "Miracle Mud" to your sump, culture a Red Algae there... Bob Fenner>

Re: need help with lesions on emperor angel 2/18/09
Thank you for the quick response on such a lengthy email question and description. I will try what you suggested. I also will try some Hikari A and S marine pellets just in case.
Regarding the SG, I thought having it a little low would help with Cryptocaryon, etc.
<Does, but... the trade off in added stress can be a bad choice... Pomacanthus imperators from certain areas in particular are very susceptible to neuromast destruction syndromes>
I saw the article on your website about a year ago of the guy with 20-30 angels, triggers and tangs in a 240 gallon aquarium that keeps the SG somewhere below 1.015 for that reason (no corals).
<Yes... and is cheaper in terms of salt mix cost, and you can much higher stocking densities due to higher dissolved oxygen, and...>
I will, of course, increase the SG if you feel that would be best.
<I do... along with the "Mud", algal culture... these will importantly impart desirous chemicals, physical properties to the water that can reverse the damage here>
I just thought it would not be as crucial for the fish. I was not sure if it could hurt the hermit crab. I will try to let you know if the condition of the angel improves by this summer.
<Thank you>
I do have one other question: my blue cheek trigger looks and acts great, and eats well. He is fat, but he is almost one year old and just doesn't seem to be growing at the rate of the other fish. Is that normal for that species?
<Mmm, no... could be other factors at play. Please see my resp. in the Daily FAQs today re someone with a stunted Porcupine Puffer. BobF>

Sorry, but I forgot 2 other questions regarding this emperor with neuromast destruction:
1. Should I keep trying the metro+ addition to the food in 3 day cycles, or is this condition completely different from what that medication is designed for?
<None... see WWM re the use of Metronidazole/Flagyl... is very dangerous to continually, repetitively administer...>
2. Could lighting in the tank have any play in this?
<Mmm, none as far as I'm aware... unless you give more credence to the possibility of stray voltage being an a priori cause of HLLE... but, the other fish livestock don't show symptoms as you note. Ohhh! I see the "angle" below...>
I ask because I started to reduce the amount of time that the lights were on to reduce some alga growth on the live rock and glass. The fish would graze on the alga, but they could not keep up and every month I would scrape quite a bit off the rock when cleaning. I decided to manually turn on the lights only during feedings for about an hour each time and whenever people were over and wanted to see the tank. This resulted in the lights being on for 2-4 hours per day rather than the previous 8 or more hours per day (on a timer). This condition started to occur somewhere around the time I started to reduce the time the lights are turned on, so I just didn't know if that could be a factor. I know fish will do better with actual sunlight, but this is VHO and actinic bulbs. I just thought that with no coral in there it would be ok to reduce the lighting to feed time only, etc. The alga has diminished a lot and the rock looks more natural, but there is still plenty of surface alga on the rocks and the angels and tangs do graze on it.
Thank you again,
<Good point... and... see WWM re lighting periodicity... better to have on... a timer... regular... and to have the algae to graze on as you state.

Free tank - north of Philadelphia... and HLLE success, Zebrasoma -- 03/10/08 Hi Crew, <Alison> I just thought I would send you this. If you feel it is inappropriate please just let me know. I'm moving soon - next week actually. After some very honest thinking I've realised that that best thing for my salt water fish would be to give them to my neighbor since he is a very good and experienced fish person who has similar philosophies. I'm moving from just north of Philadelphia to FL and my Sailfin tang is just too high strung in nature for me to want to risk his well being. Since I will be fishless for a while I thought I'd offer up my hospital tank to someone who may need it. Its a 30 hex that hasn't thankfully been used in two years. The seals may need replacing soon but when last operating it did not leak. They just look worn. Also I would like to offer up a success story with a milder case of Hole in the Head. The Sailfin had it when I bought him. It continued until I drastically changed my husbandry after researching on your site. Since my main tank is a hex as well I added a deep sand bed, added well cured live rock, and took out the Magnum 350 I had running. I kept my bioload exceptionally low - just the tang, cleaner shrimp, brittle star, a damsel, and originally a pygmy angel (he died I think of old age having come from a tank where he'd been placed as an adult approx 12 yrs prior). I had a power head providing water movement, and an airstone to keep the O2 levels as high as possible. A very low maintenance, simple set up. The tank was dedicated to just the tang even though it was too small for him at just 60 galleons. I thought this was at least better than the 20 long the LFS had him in, and arranged the rock so he had multiple swim patterns. I thought about a second power head but didn't want to add additional vibrations to the tank since he shows great sensitivity to this. I fed him mostly organic Nori from Wegmans and Algae Plus Formula from Olsen Frozen Fish Food in NJ. I choose this brand over others because the ingredients were simple: marine algae, kelp, Spirulina, plankton, clam, krill, gelatin, and mussel. In about 6-9 months later there was no more hole in the head. He still has some marks on his face which I assume to be scars. Otherwise healthy and happy though still a high strung individual. I'll miss him greatly but he's taught me a lot. I know he made it through importation but I can't see putting him through that again since my life is very chaotic right now. If anyone wants the tank please email me at alisongrieco@hotmail.com Thanks, Alison <Thank you for relating your success with the Zebrasoma, HLLE... many will benefit... And I do hope/trust we will see you back in the hobby once you've settled into your new circumstances. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Success in curing HLLE 05/30/2008 Hi WWM crew, <<Good afternoon, Andrew today>> I have always appreciated the fine work you do for the marine fish/reef keeping community, and keep up the excellent work! <<Thank you for the kind words, much appreciated>> This time I have something to offer. Not claiming to be an expert or anything, just one more success story and data point for the common HLLE problem among Surgeonfishes. <<Ahhh...the best emails to receive, success>> Some background: I have kept a Hippo Tang for several years, and he has always been healthy, active, and eats a lot. I have always fed him frozen brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, Spirulina pellets and krill pellets. However, due to bad LFS advice, he was stuck in a 37gal system for a while, which is way too small for such an active fish. A year later, he started developing HLLE. He had a small pit developing on both sides of his head, behind the eyes. <<Such a shame>> This year, I finally setup a 125g system with a 30g sump, and moved him over. He seems much happier, but the HLLE condition was still there, with no signs of improvement. Granted, it was only a very mild case, since the rest of the head and his body looked absolutely fine, but since this is not normal in wild specimen, I wanted to cure him. Two weeks ago, I started adding sushi Nori to his food. For the first day or two he refused to touch it. But persistence paid off when I shred the Nori in little pieces and mixed it to his favorite frozen mysis/brine shrimp, and he consumed everything with gusto. <<Superb news>> A week later, I saw blue color appearing on one side of the pit behind his left eye. It seems like the HLLE is starting to heal. I wish I could take pictures, but he wouldn't stay still for a portrait :-( <<he he he he.. they never do stay still when you want them too>> It seems HLLE is a diet related condition, but until he is fully healed, I will keep monitoring his progress for the coming weeks and report any more findings. <<It is of my personal opinion, that diet is one of THE main contributors to HLLE, so, I agree>> I thought the Hippo Tang is unique in Surgeonfishes due to it being a planktivore, but I guess having some more greens in his diet wouldn't hurt, and maybe the missing link to the mystery of HLLE. <<I am really really glad you have been able to rectify the HLLE in the tang, such a beautiful fish, yet seen so often in captivity suffering from HLLE, along with the yellow tang, such a shame for them. I do hope that you email here will be a an invaluable read to others who are experiencing the same issue.>> Hope this little piece of information is valuable! Isaac <<Many thanks for sharing your experience with us, and really glad you perceived to achieve a positive outcome. Kind regards, A Nixon>>

Persistent Hexamita/HLLE 9/9/05 Hello Crew !!!! <Scott> First let me start by saying what a wonderful wealth of knowledge you and your crew are!!! They are there at those times when you most need them. <Ah, yes> Anyway, I own and operate a custom aquarium design, installation and maintenance company in the Ventura County area. I've been in the hobby for almost 20 years now and in business for 5 and I've seen just about everything. <Wait a while...> From 1998 to 2001 I worked in Aquatic Research at Aquaria, Inc. (a.k.a. Marineland) under Dr. Tim Hovanec and was taught very well. So, as I hope you can see, I'm not a fly by night operation and only insist on the best care for my clients! <Oh, yes... was contemporaneous with Tim at SDSU... some changes going on there now... am wondering what B. Sherman would/does think...> Now for the problem, about 16 months ago I received a call from a someone who needed help taking care of their existing 500 gallon room-divider, saltwater, fish-only aquarium. Apparently their current "fish guy" wasn't working out. Since then, I have had a persistent problem with Hexamita/HLLE. <Mmm... from what cause... is it really Octomita (necatrix)... nutritional (usually), water quality (second most commonly...)> The water quality was less than perfect when I started, but quickly got it back to center. I have tried everything that I know of up to and including removing all fish (no small feat) and quarantining them for several weeks and letting the tank go fallow. I have only lost one French Angel to this disease but I cant seem to get rid of it. Every time I heal them up and put them back in the problem comes back. I visit this tank 3 times a week and make sure that no overfeeding is occurring and that water quality remains prime. The tank is fish-only, like i said, and has an old school undergravel filter with 3 Ocean Clear Canister Filters (1 Carbon, 1 UV with filter pleat, and 1 filter pleat only). I am starting to wonder if it has something to do with what lies beneath those undergravel filter plates. <Indirectly, likely so> This tank has been through some tough times, much to the chagrin of my clients, and I cant imagine going to them and telling them that I have to completely tear it down. I've read tons of literature regarding this and have done many changes including attempting to remove stray voltage, feeding various types of properly balanced diets, and performing regular maintenance. Any other suggestions would be wonderful. Thanks a ton. Scott C. Wirtz Owner Blue Marlin Aquatic Creations <Mmm, the easiest, most assured route to go would be to add a "mud filter" in an attached sump (really) for improving water quality, providing useful biological molecules... You could try supplementing foods (Selcon, Zoe, Microvit...), even a one time dose of Metronidazole/Flagyl if you believe (I would check with smears, a scope) this is rooted in pathogenic protozoa... (I don't). If it were me, my service account (did this for nineteen years as well), I would go with the added sump, mud... lighting and macro-algae there (my choice? Gracilaria). Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Persistent Hexamita/HLLE 9/10/05 Thanks for the info, Bob. Unfortunately there is absolutely zero room for an added sump. <Even hanging something in the inside of the tank?> You know these high end clients.... they need all the room the can get for their precious wines and the like. <Oh yes... I also need this... for our "two buck Chuck" vinos> Did I mention that this is a room divider tank between their main entrance and their sunken bar? <Negative> Well, it is. I currently have them feeding Formula One and Two pellets soaked in Selcon and Zoe and then allowed to dry in addition to sheets of dried seaweed on a clip. They don't want to touch or smell anything "offensive". The only water quality parameter that I am having trouble with is temperature. The tank regularly runs at 85 due to 3 T-2 pumps, very quiet but very hot with no chiller. If i convince them to change out those pumps to Iwaki or the like and get the temp down, do you think that would help? <Some, yes> As an experienced service provider, am sure you can imagine how much difficulty it is to get people to change their ways. Especially if it costs money !!!!! <Oh yes... but, the choice of improving their livestock's health, appearance... given this clear choice? Another possibility... the water you use for changes? Do you haul it in? If this was run through a sump with the macro-algae and mud... this would be of great benefit. Bob Fenner> Scott C. Wirtz Owner Blue Marlin Aquatic Creations

Re: Persistent Hexamita/HLLE 9/11/05 Bob, <Scott> The replacement water I use is first run through a Culligan Carbon Tank and then a Culligan Water Softener to prolong the life of my RO membrane, then it runs through a Kent RO/DI unit with a 5 micron prefilter and a 1 micron prefilter in place of the normal carbon block. Currently am getting the TDS down from 250 ppm to approximately <5 ppm. I then use Tropic Marin and allow it to sit in 300 gallon batches for approximately 24-48 hours while aerating, depending on client load. How would I go about running this water through a sump with Macro Algae at this stage? <You'd have to have a sump added to the process and recirculate this one customers water through it, over the mud...> I haven't heard of doing this with replacement water before. Although I don't have a problem with any of my other clients, this sounds like it would benefit all of my tanks. Thanks again Scott C. Wirtz Owner Blue Marlin Aquatic Creations <Yes, would. Bob Fenner>

White blotches on mid size Blue Face Angel 3/23/06 Love the site, and looked over it many times before submitting this inquiry. <Good> I have a 210 gallon with the double sump wet dry, protein skimmer, grounding probe, and UV going. The water quality is as such as I just measured it today: salinity is 1.019, <Too low...> ammonia is 0.0, nitrate is 10, nitrite is 0, and ph is 8.2 according to the 'Aquarium Pharmaceutical' kit I use. Fish roster includes: Australian Harlequin Tusk, green bird wrasse, 2 lookdowns (small), crosshatch trigger, blue face angel, zebra moray, squirrelfish, and powder blue tang. <Yikes... you need a much larger system...> They all eat a daily mixed diet of mysis, green and red lifeline, krill, angel formula, lancefish, mussel, romaine, <I'd skip the terrestrial greens... almost no food value, and trouble with pollution> cockle, and formula one. all soaked in Selcon daily except for the romaine. Attached are 2 pics of our 3.5-4 in Blue Face Angel which we've had for 3.5 months. As I read over your site, it looks like this could be HLLE (of just the head for right now) or a metamorphosis to becoming an adult. The LFS says it's most likely the latter b/c the fish is eating like a pig. It seems to be getting worse too and his skin on his face looks to be deteriorating. <Does look like HLLE... water quality issue here mainly... Though what you can/do read/seem okay...> Prior to this he was having those random white patches that would come and go on his body (literally within hours - it was a different picture. <Agreed... likely behavioral reaction... more neuronal, less hormonal... now switched> think it was that spook factor mentioned in your other write ups). What do you think this really is? <Is an erosive condition. I would raise your spg, do what you can with modifying the wet-dries (switching to refugium/s... or adding, tying a live sump in somewhere... Consider "live mud", macroalgal culture... and purposely add the Selcon to whatever foods this fish is taking> Thanks in advance for your time. Sincerely, Jason Chamberlain <Thank you for writing so thoroughly, clearly, with clear graphics, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Coral Beauty Dx HLLE Rx multiple approaches 1/6/07 Hello Everyone, <Hi Carol, Mich with you today.> I just came across your website tonight and thought you might be able to help. I have had my Coral Beauty Angel for about 6 months now. Right after I got it, the new Flame Angel got pop-eye and while treating for pop-eye the Blue Tang got Ich. <Are you familiar with quarantine procedures? If not please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm > Over the course of the next few weeks we lost several fish. <Sorry for your loses.> I got the tank, treatments and fish under control and have looking good water-wise for about 3 months. The only problem left now is with my Coral Beauty. At the end of the Ich, when the other fish either died or got better, it developed white divots around its eyes and down either side of its body. His appetite and behavior has not changed. It seems perfectly healthy, except for these divots. I have asked 3 saltwater fish stores in my area and no body has heard of anything likes this. Can you tell me what it might be and what I can do to get my fish beautiful again? <Does look like HLLE Head and Lateral Line Erosion. Is common in tangs and angels. HLLE is linked with poor water quality, nutritional deficiencies, and the protozoan Octomita (Hexamita necatrix. "Stray voltage" has also been anecdotally associated with HLLE. To try to improve the health of your beauty, you will want to make sure you are keeping on top of you water changes, make sure your tank is grounded, to eliminate any stray voltage, and try supplementing your feedings with a vitamin supplement (vitamin C and vitamin D especially) such as Selcon. Steamed broccoli has also been used to successfully treat HLLE. You can also read more here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs2.htm and here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs3.htm > My tank is a 75 gallon fish only that has been set up for 3 years. Thank you for all your help and time, <Hope this gives you a place to start. Good luck! -Mich> Carol

Coral Beauty HLLE? 7/1/06 Hi, question for you. <Hello John> I currently have a mid size coral beauty in my quarantine system. I purchase him 16 days ago from a LFS. While in the QT he has developed a small patch (approx the size of a match head) on his L side near his lateral line. The area appears to be pale in nature and irregularly circular. At first I thought he may have just bumped against something in the tank but now watching it over the past 15 days. It appears to have grown ever so slightly. Also yesterday I noticed a very tiny pale patch on the R side of his head. Is this the beginning of HLLE? <Possibly.> I feed sparsely (given that he is in a QT) brine shrimp and Omega sea veggie flakes once a day each. <A poor diet such as this can certainly aid in further development of HLLE, if that is indeed what it is.> The QT is a 15 gal long w/AquaClear 200 filter and carbon pouch. Airstone w/pump, heater, small powerhead and PVC piping. 1 gal water is changed daily. If this is HLLE should I attempt to treat it before placing him in my main aquarium or place move him in after he finishes out his QT time figuring the better diet and water quality available in my larger system will fix him. <You've just answered your own question here. Better vitamin (Selcon, Vita-Chem) enriched diet and excellent water quality are the main factors in reversing HLLE. There is no medication, in my opinion, that will effectively reverse this. Do read FAQ's on this also. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm> My main system is a 65 gal w/20gal sump, live rock. Thanks for your comments, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> John

HLLE in Fish Other than Surgeonfishes, Not the Happiest Place on Earth.. for a Fish. 1/30/07 Hi! <Hello there, Mich with you today.> Just returned from a trip last week to Orlando and was wondering about the health of 2 systems I visited. First was at Epcot, there I noticed in one of the buildings (In Nemo and Friends) which housed a huge aquarium that many of the fishes did not looked very healthy. <Sad.> Most of the fishes I saw, including yellowtail snappers, grunts and others, looked like suffering HLLE. The faces looked badly eroded and I was curious to know if in fact those kinds of fishes suffered from HLLE, I believed not. <Yes it is possible. HLLE most commonly affects tangs and angels, but can be seen in other species in captivity.> Other thing I noticed was that the fins were badly damaged too. <A shame.> I also visited Rain Forest Café at Downtown Disney and although the systems looked better, I also noted the condition on some of the fishes there including Tangs and other species. Have any of you being there recently? <Unfortunately, no.> Can HLLE affect any species of fish in aquariums. <Any may be too broad of a word here, but it can affect many different species in captivity. -Mich> <<RMF concurs... the fishes in these systems are poster children for HLLE>>

Marine Hole in Head: What do I do? I have a Kole tang with what looks to be Marine Hole in head. What steps should I take to try and save him. Will a freshwater dip do any good and how do you suggest I prepare the freshwater? <A freshwater dip is unlikely to help this malady. IMO it would likely do more harm than good> I have read that the hole in the head is primarily a Tang and Angel disease. <Correct> Will my others catch it <Nope!> and is it present only when they are stressed? <Not contagious...> I didn't notice anything wrong with the Kole until the day after I put him in the tank. I am thinking it was because he was stressed?! <So this is a new addition to the tank? Well, the colors that a fish show when stressed can sometimes allow you to see HLLE that otherwise isn't noticed. I have had the same experience with a Sailfin tang. Please realize that...at a minimum the malady is present in this fish and it will...if not at this moment, in the near future...need help. HLLE is a symptom of inappropriate environment and feeding. This is also not a problem that develops quickly. Some authors have implicated electrical current in the tank as being a factor but this hypothesis has never been proven. Using a grounding probe in you tank will take away the possibility of this occurrence. Tangs and angels are affected most often because they feed heavily on macro algae that live in the ocean. You need to replicate the natural environment by either growing algae in your tank which is probably the best solution (Gracilaria is fabulous: IPSF is one distributor for this algae), or by feeding dried seaweed (not baked...dried) called Nori. Nori is sold in the Asian section of your local supermarket. Also consider adding a vitamin supplement (one that includes vitamin C) such as Selcon. Soak the food before feeding. As always...keep water quality optimized which means low organics, no ammonia, no nitrite and low levels (if any) of nitrate. Much more about this ailment at WetWebMedia.com. It can be cured but it tends to be slow to heal> Any suggestions will be carefully considered and followed. Thanks so much. <You got my brain droppings!> Love your site and have been reading it religiously since discovering it. <Thanks for the compliment! This is a service that the WWM crew enjoys providing. It's our pleasure to assist! David Dowless> Jwithay from NJ.

My angel fish is looking dull! Dear Bob <David Dowless standing in this afternoon> I have an Imperator angel I have had for about 5 years. He is housed in a 100gal. aquarium. Filtered by 3 Eheim canister filters a 15 watt UV. He has a few other tank mates such as a twin spot wrasse, <Do you mean the Coris wrasse? This baby gets to be more than 21" long!> 6 fire fish, long nose hawk, Flame angel, Flag fin, 3 butterflies. In, addition I also have a protein skimmer. <Is it producing a full cup of skimmate daily?> Water parameters are close to 0 ammonia <.1ppm NO2, N03 between20 to 60. <Ammonia and nitrite need to be zero all of the time.> Salinity 1.020, temp 77. This was not always the case, however , I thinned out the population some time ago. I did this because I had difficulty keeping the water parameters within the range I proffered. I had blue tangs and a Koran angel that both had bad HLLE. The Imperator I believe was also developing HLLE so I became extra faithful doing water changes and adding broccoli and spinach to the diet. This seemed to arrest any HLLE in the Imperator however his color has dulled. I should mention that in every other way he is fine. <Poor water quality, poor diet, and overcrowding will do this..> I occasionally put carbon in my canister filter some say this contributes to HLLE also, I do not do anything to guard against stray voltage. <HLLE is an environmental disease: inappropriate diet and poor water quality due to overcrowding. Your tank needs to be thinned out even more. I don't know which ones to get rid of because I don't know their sizes or the specific species. Consider getting a copy of Scott Michael's Marine Fishes. It is an excellent pocket guide that would have helped you avoid overcrowding. You can get it online for less than $25> My fishes diet is extremely varied including frozen as well as dry foods and fresh veggies. <Marine algae growing in the tank would also help> I would welcome any advice you may have. Thank you, Charles Rayburn <You're welcome, Charles. You can research even more on this and many other topics at WetWebMedia.com...David Dowless>

Re: HLLE Reversal Hey WWM team, Thanks again for your help. My recipe for success in reversing my Powder Brown Tang's HLLE was: Conditions: Fish only, 30 gallon hex with porcupine puffer, spotted hawk, and above mentioned tang. Magnum hang off the back filter, under gravel filter, and Berlin Air Lift skimmer Actions: Replaced air stone <Good idea> Cleaned mechanical filter (ph dropped, so I added buffer for two days) <Okay> Started bolstering healthy bacteria with Cycle because so much organic material was rinsed off filter sleeve. <Good move> ¼ Cup of Kent carbon replaced, running for three days per month (I used to just leave it in, but no more) Kent Essential Elements and Coral Vite to replace trace minerals Added 1800mg (two large gel caps) of Omega 3 and 6 to 4 oz. Bottle of Boyd's VitaChem for food additive, which I put on OSI Spirulina and freeze-dried krill (for my puffer) feeding twice a day Also added 1000mg garlic oil to VitaChem Lowered specific gravity from .023 to .022 because temperature was above 23C Results: Tang's HLLE is looking so much better now and it's only been 3 days, and I did catch it early. He did, however, develop a slight case of blood streaking (petecchia?) in his tail that I noticed yesterday, but looks better today too, though not completely gone. <Excellent> Please let me know if you have any thoughts/criticism on the above treatments. <Good work, congratulations. Your apparent grasp of what the principal inputs/cause of HLLE (degraded environment, poor nutrition) are the same as mine. Bob Fenner> Thanks again,

Update on French angel w/ HLLE Hi to all of you! I just wanted to send you another update on my French angel. After you saw HLLE on him I decided that I would put him in the main tank in hopes of improvement. I think that 5 weeks in a bare QT was just too much for him. Anyways, he has improved drastically this last week!! Here's a picture of him now! can't thank you enough for all your help!! Lynn
<Great news. Congrats. Bob Fenner>

Reversing HLLE Dear WWM Crew- <Scott F. your Crew Member tonight> I have a flame angel that has been in my tank for about 4 months now. About 2 months ago, it started to develop what looked like head erosion around his eyes and temple areas. I checked my water and everything looked okay, but when I tested with a new test kit, it turned out that my nitrate was around 80, and my phosphate was around .5. <Wow- that's some serious nitrate! Lots of ways to lower nitrate, all of which can be found on the WWM site- do investigate them and take action accordingly> After discovering this, I immediately changed out 50% of the water, and did a few more water changes on a weekly basis and brought the nitrate down below 5 in a few weeks. <Excellent! Way to go!> After doing this, and with increased maintenance to maintain water quality, I hoped that the flame angels symptoms would go away. Anyways, after a month, it seems as if the symptoms are getting worse, and I don't know why. My tank is grounded, and I am feeding my tank Ocean Nutrition formulas, Nori, marine cuisine, HBH pellets, and Caulerpa, all coated in Vita Chem. Do you have any ideas what could be making this head erosion worse, and do you have any ideas that I could try to reverse it? Thanks! <Well, the problem with HLLE is that no one is 100% certain what causes it to begin with...Poor water quality, stray voltage, improper nutrition (all of which you seem to have addressed) have been implicated in its occurrence. Another possibility is Hexamita, a protozoan. It sounds like the damage to the fish should have at least stopped, if not reversed, based on the actions that you have taken! My recommendations here would be to continue the good husbandry practices, feeding of high quality, vitamin-enriched foods, and careful observation. I'm of the opinion that it is an environmental and dietary-induced malady, and as such- can be arrested (if not reversed) by continuing what you're doing. You could also research the possible protozoan theory, and investigate treatment methods (in a separate aquarium, of course). However- I like what you're doing- give it more time, and I would not be surprised if the damage improves, or even disappears entirely in time. Hang in there! Scott F>

HLLE Hey all, I just wanted to offer my observations on HLLE. I have a Hippo Tang that developed it about a year ago. I've recently been using Vita-Chem and Selcon heavily and have seen about a 50% reduction in the disease in about 8 weeks. For your readers out there, use it. It works. Thx <Thank you for this input. Will post to share. Bob Fenner> Angelo

HLLE Permanency I'm not having problems with this (knock on wood), but after reading the FAQs I was wondering. Can a fish with a severe case of HLLE ever fully recover? <Probably not to its full coloration.> Is the best one can do is stop it? or can it be "reversed" (scaring and holes)? <It can be reversed. The amount of scarring and color is going to depend on the amount of HLLE.> Thanks again for your guy's devotion, Mark <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: