FAQs about the Diseases of Clownfishes
from Cnidarian Stings
Clownfish Disease 1, Diseases of Clownfishes 2, Diseases of Clownfishes 3, Clownfish Disease 4, Clownfish Disease 5, Clownfish Disease 6, Clownfish Disease 7, Clownfish Disease 8, Clownfish Disease 9, Clownfish Disease 10, Clownfish Disease 11, Clownfish Disease 12, Clownfish Disease 13, Clownfish Disease 14, Clownfish Disease 15, Clownfish Disease 16, Clownfish Disease 17, Clownfish Disease 18, Clownfish Disease 19, Clownfish Disease 20, Clownfish Disease 21, Clownfish Disease 22,
Disease 23, Clownfish Disease 24,
Clownfish Disease 25,
Clownfish Disease 26,& FAQs on Clownfish Disease By:
Stress, Nutrition, Social/Behavioral/Territoriality, Trauma/Mechanical Injury, & Pathogens:
Lymphocystis, Infectious Disease (Bacteria, Fungi...),
Amyloodinium/Velvet, Brooklynella (see article below), &
Mysteries/Anomalous Losses, Cure, Success Stories, & Clownfishes in General, Clownfish Identification, Clownfish Selection, Clownfish Compatibility, Clownfish Behavior, Clownfish Systems, Clownfish Feeding, Clownfishes and Anemones,
Related Articles: Clownfish Disease, Clownfishes, Maroon
Clowns, Marine Disease, Brooklynellosis,
Sick Clownfishes 11/5/13
<... nine megs of pix... Why? Why don't people follow directions if
seeking our help?>
I had two ocellaris clown fishes in my 32 gallon reef tank (now in QT).
One is a large female I have owned for 8 years and the other is a small
juvenile/male that I bought from my formerly trusted LFS about 2 weeks
ago now. This fish is the first thing I have added to my tank in
at least 2 years. I neglected to set up my QT (I know, I know, bad
move…). First thing I noticed was that at night time, the male would
spend nearly the whole time sitting near the surface of the tank.
Meanwhile in the day time he would hang in the top portion but swim
around to the lower portion to hang out with the female. A few
days after purchase I started to notice both him and my female clown
gasping for air at the surface of the tank a bit.
I checked ph, salinity, alkalinity, nitrates, ammonia, and my temperature
sensor and everything was beautiful (I don’t remember them exactly since
this was now over a week ago and I didn't exactly write it down at the
time). I am battling an algae problem
<... what do you mean by "battling"? What specifically are you doing?>
so thought maybe this was due to a lack of O2 due to the algae, even
though I have a tank with no top and there is more than adequate flow
and the skimmer provides additional aeration. A few days later, I
noticed the male had a slightly shredded caudal fin, which I figured was
due to nipping by the female (she is aggressive). A few days later, I
started to notice some color fading of the black stripe on the caudal
fin in the region of the fraying. I thought I might have seen a single
white spec on the dorsal fin of the male but it was very hard to tell.
The female looked fine externally aside from three small spots of
discoloration or thickening on top of her head in front of her dorsal
fin. She was not showing signs of distress or any rapid breathing.
Both were still eating very well. The next day (9 days after purchase)
the small male had a long white string of fecal matter that was at
longer than he was and wouldn’t fall off for some time. His tattered fin
looked even worse and both fish seemed to be gasping at the surface even
more. Tested water parameters again and they all were appropriate. Did
some research and posted in some forums and ended up catching both
fishes and throwing them in my 20 gallon QT with a heater and a marine
land penguin power filter that I seeded with stuff from my reef tank.
Filled that with water from my reef tank, put the fish in, and dosed the
tank with furan
<? For what reason?>
as per instruction. Also dosed the tank with quick cure at double dosage
as suggested by another LFS that is highly reputable (realize I probably
should have just done baths). The female ate a little for the first day
in QT, but then she stopped eating all together and would hang out in
the bottom corner unless coming to confront me for invading her space.
The female was breathing very rapidly and heavily and was gaping but the
small spots on her head disappeared. The male seemed to be behaving more
normally overall, but was also breathing very labored and was gaping a
bit. Anyways, I did the water change (25%) and media change on day 2 as
per directions on the furan box. And continued to dose daily with furan
and quick cure as described. The male’s fin seemed to get a little
better and regained some color but still was tattered a bit. I finished
the fourth day of the furan and did a water change and media change
again. I then continued to dose with quick cure
at double dose for two more days (I realize I probably should have stopped
when my female fish showed such signs of distress, next time). My female
now hadn’t eaten in like 7 days and was showing a bit of very fine white
stringy stuff coming from where I imagine poop comes out (I have heard
this can happen though when fish don’t eat for long periods of time but
I am not sure how reliable that is).
<Simply search and read on WWM. Bob Fenner>
She continued to breath very labored and was gaping and occasionally
made these jerky mouth movements like she was choking/ gagging and
trying to cough something up. I have seen the male do this as well and
he was also gaping and breathing heavily. I stopped treatment. Nitrates
and nitrites at this time were zero, but ammonia was 0.15 ppm. I did a
45% water change. Water parameters of my source water were matched to
those in the QT. the female continued to gape and breath heavily for the
next day or so as did the male. About a day later both fishes stopped
gaping so much and had a more normal respiration rate. I did another
water change (15%) after testing my mixing water before using it. The
female is no longer gaping really but still does that gagging thing
occasionally though. The male is still eating voraciously and I have not
seen white feces (or any really) since he has been in QT and the female
finally started eating again now, but is being a bit picky and spitting
some pieces out after. The female doesn’t appear to have any body
lesions but the male still has a slight frayed and discolored spot on
the lower edge of his caudal fin. So now I am trying to regroup and
decide where to go from here. The biggest question is what do you think
is going on here with my babies? Some lingering questions include: Was
six days of quick cure and four days of furan (Nitrofurazone) enough if
it was brook with secondary bacterial infection? Should I start doing
dip/bath treatments? Do I need to think about treating for intestinal
worms? When can my babies go back into my reef tank? I tried to provide
as much information as possible so I apologize for the length. I very
much appreciate your time and help and thank you for your advice and
wisdom. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I have attached two
pictures of the male with the white string poop when he initially
presented. The third attachment is a photo of the female when she showed
the few discolored spots on her head that disappeared early on in
treatment. The last attachment is a photo of the two fish together from
today. You can just barely see the tattered caudal fin against the
background of the large female. I was not able to get a picture of the
small white stringy bit hanging from the female, it was too small and
thin and just wouldn’t show up. And today, QT water testing showed
ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite are undetectable, salinity is 1.23, temp
is 78.4, ph is 8.3, alkalinity is 10. Thanks again for all the
Re: Sick Clownfishes 11/5/13
So I ended up being able to snap a few shots of the stringy thing hanging
from the bottom of the female. The other apparent spots on her body are just
artifacts of the photos. I have attached them here. Thanks for all the help
and your hard work, it is very appreciated!
<May be indicative of lumenal parasites or not. Search, read on WWM re
Clownfish diseases. BobF>
|Re: Sick Clownfishes
Dear Mr. Fenner,
I apologize for the image size, I haven't posted on here in years and am
embarrassed I forgot.
The link with that request amongst the other helpful tips for navigating
this site is not the most obvious, since it comes after all the freshwater
stuff on the "ask WWM" page. When I saw that, I just went back up to the
link that was like "saltwater issue? email us at..." .
I am sure that I am not the only one who has made that mistake.
<Thank you for this. It was I who made the "just contact...." addition;
worrying that folks would be too annoyed at locating our email addy for
You may have more success with this if you consider moving that link up to
the top of the page. It's just a suggestion, I am not implying that I am any
less responsible for my mistake and I truly am sorry for the inconvenience.
I have done thorough searching through your site as well as various other
forums and venues regarding clownfish diseases and those of saltwater fish
in general. I am coming to you because I am at a point where I just don't
know anymore and feel like I am seeing conflicting things. My fish are
showing signs that I feel could be a number of things which leads me to
wonder about the likelihood that this is from multiple infectious organisms
or is just an odd presentation.
<Could be; but given the exposure to formalin you previously mentioned, I
doubt if there is much more externally>
I moved the fish to QT mostly because I was unaware you could use dip/baths
to treat them when I started treatment after consulting some fellow
hobbyists and my local LFS. I also knew I couldn't treat the display tank
because it would crash my tank. So I used water from my reef to establish
to help ease the transition and seed the tank. I then used the Nitrofurazone
because the small male's tail was starting to erode and lose a bit of color,
so the concern was that he had a secondary bacterial or fungal infection
like fin rot of some sort and this is what my LFS said they carried and
would use in such a case.
I used the formalin (Quick Cure) because they were gasping at the surface
and staying near the top of the tank (especially the new male) which was
suggestive of Brooklynella to my knowledge. I also suspected Brooklynella as
a possibility because of the rapidness with which the males fin began to
fade and fray, and also because my female suddenly began to show a few
splotches on her forehead as shown in the photo. She also has been doing
this weird gagging/ coughing thing and like flushing her gills which also
made me think of possible Brooklynella infection. So that was the rationale
behind my initial treatment choice. Problem is none of these things address
the cause for the white stingy feces of the male or female,
<This "cause" might well be internal, or at least "gut" (which is actually
external in some regards)>
and while the males tail was doing better, it seems to have stopped
improving in the past few days. Thus I am not sure what to do now beyond
keeping them in the QT and ensuring good water quality. Do you think the
white stringy feces is something different from or related to the other
symptoms my fish are demonstrating?
<Can't tell w/o sampling, viewing under a 'scope. You could, I might
pre-emptively treat with food soaked in a mix of Metronidazole and
Praziquantel (or other vermifuge)>
When you said "lumenal" does that imply worms or can some of these other
infections, like Brooklynella, go systemic?
<Gut... in the lumen; mostly worms or Protozoans there>
When I say battling an algae problem, I mean I am doing consistent testing
of my water, both tank and source, I have cut the light cycle to 5 hours a
day, am doing water changes (20%) every week, as well as trying to
minimize waste by hand feeding my fish from tongs. I tried manual removal as
well but a good amount of it is in unreachable areas in the back of the
tank. Thus, I say it is a battle because I am trying hard to do all this
stuff for the past how many months and have seen little improvement despite
maintaining nitrates at 0,
<... not advised>
although phosphates tend to rise above 0 closer to water change time (i.e.
within the week). I have also been doing research on vodka dosing to help
with this but that is neither here nor there. Again thanks for your time and
your help. I tried really hard to edit and make sure appropriate things were
capitalized etc so I hope I did a good job! If you want to point me to any
specifically helpful threads that would be appreciated too, although I have
read the majority of the ones for clownfish diseases already in the
"diseases by affected fish group" section. I just cant seem to put it all
together to figure out the appropriate diagnosis. Thanks again and I look
forward to hearing form you soon.
<Thank you for this well-thought out account of your actions, rationale and
speculations. I would either lace foods or treat the water directly as
stated above. Bob Fenner>
Note, Zoas, Euphyllia
|Re: Sick Clownfishes
<<Again; am curious as to "how" you sought to control NO3; rendered zero
ppm... It may be that this process triggered the Cnidarians present
(allelopathogen expression) to react, causing your clowns to exhibit as if
they were otherwise sick. B>>
Platinum Clownfish with pink bumps
I am truly hoping that from researching your site the spots on
my female baby platinum clownfish are stings or abrasions from our
corals and will heal up without further treatment.
<Ah yes; quite common>
But I am concerned it might be something more serious and I love her so
much I will be devastated if I lose her so would love some advise.
She has one larger spot that looks like a raised pink lesion near her head
(not gills toward the top of her head) and one on the same side toward
her tail that is more like a spot, not lesion-like. I noticed those two
yesterday. Today they seem smaller, less noticeable, but I noticed a
third spot on her other side toward her tail. She is eating and acting
Background- She and her mate were bought as a pair about 6-8
months ago and have been happily growing since then on our 10
gallon "baby tank".
Because they were hanging out in the corner in effort to make that tank
seem less open and scary we have added more rock and coral to make them
feel more comfortable (this is not recent).Also in the tank we have
a green Chromis and a yellow clown goby. All are tiny babies. All have
been and are still eating and acting normal. Three weeks ago I bought a
tiny baby cowfish and added him to the tank as he had been at our local
fish store for three weeks and seemed healthy (no QT tank set up). We
noticed a couple small spots of ick the day after adding him to our baby
tank. We raised the tank temp, went through a 15 day treatment cycle of
<Of no use whatsoever>
and started soaking their food in garlic guard. With in a couple days
cowfishes ick spots were gone and no one else developed any. Everyone
We have a frogspawn coral, hammer corals, and long tentacle corals in
there with mushrooms and a large rock with a bunch of small feather
dusters and it one growing Aiptasia that we killed yesterday. I know
that those are all stinging coral expect the mushrooms. My fear is the
bumps / lesions are some sort of parasite that came in with cowfish (he
has no visible sign of anything else after the ick).
<Doubtful (highly); all would show symptoms>
So does this sound like an infection, worm or parasite or does this
sound like an injury?
<The latter almost assuredly>
If its an injury should I move those corals to our big tank to avoid
<I wouldn't; no>
Having baby cowfish in the tank seems to make the baby clowns feel more
comfortable and they swim more freely around the tank so the purpose of
the coral other than decoration is not needed.
We have done a water change, added back the charcoal to the filter and
added some stress coat to help her heal if these are just abrasions. I
can get a QT or hospital tank together if this is something more serious
I should treat her separately for. Any advise is greatly appreciated!
Thanks a bunch!
<Patience urged here. Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Clownfish problem... new system, no reading 10/28/13
<... is there a full moon? Five Megs of pix; why?>
Hi I was wondering if someone could please tell me what is going on with
my clownfish. I currently have a 55gal with 4
clowns 2 orange and 2 true black
<Are these captive produced specimens?>
, 1 hippo tang
<Needs more room than this>
and a coral Banded shrimp.
<Predatory; could eat your clowns>
My tank has been up and running for a few weeks
and Amm is 0 Nitralite is 0 and nitrate is 0-10. He started breathing
faster 4 days ago and now looks like something is coming out of his
He is not eating as well and hides in the corner on the bottom of the
I have treated him today with Paraguard 5ml for 1.2L of water from the
tank for 2hrs. How often should I do this and when will I see results? I
don't see any change. Thank you for your time your opinions and advice
<... let's have you start reading where you should have ahead of writing
|Re: Clownfish problem
I already completed the cycle brown diatoms, green algae etc.
<Mmm, well; the marks on the head of the Clown/s are likely indicative of
neuromast destruction (HLLE); are reversible w/ time, good water quality,
nutrition... But highly likely exacerbated by the system "being new">
As for wild caught I don't know the store never said.
<...? I would be asking... and reading re... Please search and read ahead of
The pictures are from my phone so that's why so many megapixels.
<.... Please....comply w/ our guidelines or go elsewhere. >
As for the tang she will be moved when needed. According to the website
provided it could be a number of things so how do I figure out which one it
is? I was told my shrimp would clean from our pet store as well.
Re: Clownfish problem
I am sorry I didn't see anything regarding pictures and or sizes of files.
<The fish shows "neuromast destruction", HLLE, as stated below... do you see
the search tool (on every page)... Just plug these terms in...>
I also didn't see a problem with asking a question and It's quite obvious I
shouldn't have even bothered as the comments are pretty rude.
I will ask further questions elsewhere. Sorry to waste our time.
<Agreed. IF you had taken the time (where you found how to write us) you
would have seen the requirement that file sizes be limited (due to
constraints on our mail server and the fact that often some of us are in
places w/ poor Net service). Good luck to you, your livestock. BobF>