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FAQs about the Diseases of Clownfishes, Environmental Stress

Related FAQs: Clownfish Disease 1, Diseases of Clownfishes 2, Diseases of Clownfishes 3, Clownfish Disease 4, Clownfish Disease 5, Clownfish Disease 6, Clownfish Disease 7, Clownfish Disease 8, Clownfish Disease 9, Clownfish Disease 10, Clownfish Disease 11, Clownfish Disease 12, Clownfish Disease 13, Clownfish Disease 14, Clownfish Disease 15, Clownfish Disease 16, Clownfish Disease 17, Clownfish Disease 18, Clownfish Disease 19, Clownfish Disease 20, Clownfish Disease 21, Clownfish Disease 22, Clownfish Disease 24, Clownfish Disease 25, Clownfish Disease 26, Clownfish Disease 27, &

FAQs on Clownfish Disease By: Nutrition, Social/Behavioral/Territoriality, Trauma/Mechanical Injury, & Pathogens: Lymphocystis, Infectious Disease (Bacteria, Fungi...), Protozoans: Cryptocaryon/Ich, Amyloodinium/Velvet, Brooklynella (see article below), & Mysteries/Anomalous Losses, Cure, Success Stories,

& Clownfishes in General, Clownfish Identification, Clownfish Selection, Clownfish Compatibility, Clownfish Behavior, Clownfish Systems, Clownfish Feeding, Clownfishes and Anemones, Breeding Clowns

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

Sufficiently large, uncrowded, stable, optimized, "Reef" conditions... well-established, non-aggressive tank-mate situations... Absence of any ammonia or nitrite, very little nitrate (less than 5 ppm.)...

Faded clownfish... beginner, chatting       6/29/19
Hi my name is Brian delp
<Hi Bryan>
I have a clownfish that I just purchased a week ago and yesterday his orange color has faded a lot and his he's swimming
around real fast up by power head and then he will swim in between heater
and the glass..he's been doing fine all this time and just like that total
change his swimming is very erratic and it doesn't seem like he's eating but
he was eating the day before he is being housed in a Nano 24 tank
<At first glance, I would say, it is stressed by environmental conditions but, I need to know more about your tank; water parameters, filtration, tank mates, maintenance practices...
Brian Delp
< You´re welcome. Wil.>

Yeah; some consideration now.

Re: Faded clownfish       6/29/19
2 clowns total and 1 red star fish so far
Ph is 8.2 ammonia 0 and salinity is 1.026 and the test after ammonia is 0
and the 4th test was in the middle < ?? > I'm not at home now my other clown is
fine which is the smaller of the 2 they were both fine yesterday morning
<How about nitrites and nitrates?...Wil.>
Re: Faded clownfish       6/29/19

The test after ammonia test is 0 and test after that was in the middle for
the master testing don't remember the 1 number
<Brian, please send us more accurate information of your water parameters, nitrites, nitrates, water temperature, and if possible an image of your clown fish; it is hard to diagnose with just ammonia info. Cheers. Wil.>
Re: Faded clownfish       6/29/19
Ammonia. 25, nitrite 1.0 and nitrate 20ppm,
<Too high, toxic levels, only nitrates are in a safe range>

Water temp 76 degrees just tested again to double check and I just did a
10% water change tank has only been running since may 7th it's a new tank
<I can see in your pic that your clown fish is stressed, I would do more partial water changes, also your water surface looks stagnant, do you have enough water movement/ oxygenation? What is your biological filter composed of, only live rock, how many pounds? Do you run a protein skimmer? Your tank is relatively new and may not be completely established. Wil.>

Clown Fish; hlth.; env.        2/4/16
I’m wondering if you could help me?
<Will do my best; as always>
I’m new to this hobby. I have a newly cycled 65 gallon tank with live rock, one coral, some snales/hermit crabs and two new clown fish. Bought them a week and a half ago. My water tests are all good. PH 8.4, Ammonia 0, Nitrate and Nitrite are 0.
<No accumulated Nitrate? Odd>
I did have an issue with the gravity as I had a faulty hydrometer and had to lower it from 1.30 to 1.25. I noticed that my clown has been pooping a white stringy poop and recently I saw a white speck under his eye. He is swimming around and eating fine. Wondering if anyone can identify what it might be? I'm posting pics.
<Can't tell from your images or writing what is going on here. Could well be that the too-high spg is all that is causing the marks here. I would do nothing other than read for now. See WWM re Clownfish diseases>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Clown Fish       2/4/16
Thank you, actually when i came home today the mark was almost gone.
<Ah yes; good>
Thanks for your help
<Welcome. BobF>

A couple questions! Clownfish disease concerns bordering on.... Crypt, lumenal parasites?      8/5/14
Hi crew,
Long time fan, I really appreciate all that you guys do around here. Please excuse me if these questions have already been answered, but I have tried to use the search function to no avail. I believe my questions are a tad too specific.
<Let's see>
I currently have 2 clownfish in my QT, and I've just finished the 4th transfer using the tank transfer method to prophylactically treat them for Ich.
My QT is a 20 gallon tank, currently sg is hovering around 1.025, temperature is at 80-82 degrees. All parameters are in check, as the fish have only been in the water for 3 days so ammonia is at 0, nitrate/nitrite 0, pH. around 8.0-8.2. I have also been dosing with AmQuel plus, to make sure to detoxify any possible ammonia.
I just have a couple questions regarding the health of my fish before I throw them into my display:
1) One of my clowns has ONE "dot" which is white, on one of his pelvic fins. Now this "dot" has been there for about 4 days, and hasn't expanded/multiplied or changed in any way.
Is it possible for ich to show up as only ONE dot?
<Yes; but unlikely. This spot is probably "consolidated body mucus" from general stress>
and remain that way for up to 4 days? I have a feeling this isn't ich, but rather something else, possibly an injury?
I THINK it might just be a "hole" because when I look at the pelvic fin from the other side as well, there seems to be a white dot on the same spot, but it's weird to think that he found a way to make a "hole" in his
fin, rather than a tear. If it were just a single Ich spot on his fin, I wouldn't see the same white dot from BOTH sides of the fin, would I?
<Could; yes>
Would ich behave in this manner at all?
<... again; not likely>
I'm thinking if it was ich, it would have multiplied by now, or fallen off, or changed in any way, or the fish would show signs of the disease, breathing heavier, flashing, appetite loss, anything. The fish has not
changed his behavior in any way. Still eating like a pig. Currently I am only feeding them the Thera-A new life spectrum pellets. I'll add more variety to their diet once they're in the display.
The other clownfish has shown 0 signs of ich, no dots, nothing.
Any ideas? am I just being paranoid?
<The latter>
My second, unrelated question:
2) The other clownfish has weird stool patterns. Sometimes he has really long, stringy white poop, similar to that of an internal parasite. Please find attached a picture of the poop that I saw a few days ago.
<Again; most likely "just" stress... You could look at a specimen under a microscope...>
Now this poop looks very similar to what an internal parasite looks like, but both of my fish have gone through a PraziPro treatment, twice.
The clownfish will show this poop one day, and then the next day he'll have somewhat "normal" poop, which would not be long white and stringy like pictured. He has continued to have normal poop for the past 2-3 days, which is the strange part for me.
Is it normal for a fish to show this type of stool one day, and then seemingly normal stool the next day? It seems like he'll go a week without showing stringy poop, and then one random day he'll show it for a day or two and then go back to normal poop. I was under the impression that if it were internal parasites, then the fish would continue to show stringy poop until the parasites have been cleared. Not show stringy poop one day, and then normal poop the next. Am I mistaken here?
Do fish get different poop from stress?
<Yes; same as humans>
He showed the stringy poop right after the 4th tank transfer, and then 1 day later, he had normal poop again, so I'm thinking is it possible for his stool patterns to change simply due to stress? or diarrhea? haha. Any ideas?
I want to throw my fish in the display in a couple days, as they seem healthy and happy, but I'm just worried about these two issues right now, which makes me doubt if they are 100% ready.
Any input is much appreciated.
Thank you very much, and enjoy your day.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Ocellaris Clownfish, hlth.        8/8/12
I hope you can help. I have 2 clowns (they've been in hypo-salinity
<Not advised for Amphiprionines, or other fishes that live in close association w/ invertebrates that also don't tolerate low Spg>

 QT for 6 weeks so far because they got Ich when I first got them), they're both basically the same size, they do fight, but I'm hoping they'll establish their pair before the lesser one is a goner. Anyway, the one that seems to be the one to stay male, since i got him has had this 'cracking' on him. It was only a bit when i first got him, and it has expanded to both sides, and longer lines. Have any idea what it is? I've attached a photo, he's not dead! Just a quick snap while I was taking them out for cleaning the QT.
Thank you!
<These fish need to be returned to normal water density. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ocellaris Clownfish     8/9/12
I read online to do hyposalinity for Ich for clowns?
<? Not on WWM>
You're saying copper should have been done? It was like this when I saw him at the pet store, just has gotten more/longer. I've started slowly raising the salinity, to be normal by the 8 week mark. Like instructed. You didn't answer my question, what's the issue with him?
<Don't write... Read. B>

Clownfish eye problems 6/26/12
Hello Mr. Fenner,
I have an ocellaris clown that is having some troubles with it's eyes that first started 5 days ago.  I noticed a white pimple like bump on the right eye of the fish with some slight cloudiness.  This bump stuck out noticeably when looking from the front or top of the fish.  After reading on your site I figured this was an injury since it was only on one side of the fish, so I did a %15 water change and waited it out.  The eye cleared up on its own after 3 days which made the injury theory seem more likely.  However on the 3rd day I noticed the same type of white pimple looking bump on the fishes left side about half way down below the second dorsal fin.  I have seen Ich and Oodinium before and this looked much larger and stuck out noticeably from the fishes side.  The white part of the bump was gone the next day with just a slightly raised area left however there was another bump right next to it on the side.  This one also cleared to only a small raised area in about 12 hours.  Then this morning I woke up to find both the eyes have this same white bump with the right eye cloudy and the
left eye clear.  I am now confused as to what this might be.
<I agree closely w/ your observations and speculations thus far...>
 I wanted to get your advice before I start any treatment.  The reappearance of this makes me think it isn't just an injury and that there is something else in play here.
<Might be... what else is in this tank?>
  I have had this fish and its female mate for over a year now.  They both went through a quarantine as well as all my other fish and corals
 and I have added nothing to my tank for over 3 months and about 6 month since the last new fish.  All other fish have no signs of any problems and the tank parameters check out good.  Nitrite and ammonia undetectable, nitrate around 1 ppm.  I have a wide range medications on hand but am hesitant to treat anything unnecessarily.  Could this be coming from the
torch coral that the clowns host in?
<Oh yes>
 Or just some sort of injury?
<The same in this case... a sting, burn to the eyes by the Euphyllia>

 Or is this more likely an infection of some sort?  I have attached a few pictures of the eyes so you can see what I am referring to.  In the picture you can
also see a little bit of a damaged pectoral fin.  Could this be part of the same problem?
<VERY nice images>
  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
<Mmm, well, I would move these clowns to another established system if you had one... but otherwise, the eyes should clear up on their own in time; as the clown and host "get to know each other better".>
  Thank you for your help.
P.S.  I really enjoyed your talk a few months back at the Southern California Reef Keepers meeting.  I hope they get you to come back to talk to us again sometime.
<Ahh, I as well. Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

Please help Clownfish trouble! 5/28/11
I am really stressed out guys. I have little time to explain and am deathly sorry about this I normally am REALLY specific with my intro specs. I have finals all week, drama crap in classes, and a clownfish who looks like a zombie from 28 weeks later!!! 29 gallon Biocube restocked from an overstocked tank with too many fish, lost my test kit so sorry!, 1.22 salinity,
<Mmm, would raise/keep near 1.025/6>
80 degree temp, stock lights, a pistol shrimp and goby, ocellaris clownfish baby less than 2 n long, a cleaner shrimp, and a cleanup crew.
After I removed my old temporary stock of a baby eel, and maroon clown
<These can't fit here>
(with others), I added the clown and cleaner. The tank got murked up when I removed the eel but I thought it would be clear by the time I got home so I bought a clown and shrimp. I didn't look at the clown really close in the bag or at the store but a hour after acclimation to my tank, his tail fin (back section) was weird. He swims with to <too> much push on his back tail thing. even with no flow, (I turned filter off) it was swimming overly back crazy. HE swam around near the top and later, he was gulping at the air at the top of the tank. I added a powerhead and changed 7 gallons of the 29 in water.
The powerhead murked things up more but got a good flow. I turned off the lights for about four days fearing the murk was partially an algae bloom, and turned the back on today. I nearly passed out. I can see over 6 veins in the Clownish tail!!!!!!!!
<... water quality. "murk">
they are all red and sick looking. He is fine other than his back section. He eats fine and everything but weird swimming and veins! Is this a disease or my fault? How can I fix it in ways other than water changes?
<Time going by; patience>
I only have my drivers permit and no one will take me to get de chlorinzer as I have just run out! Please help people I have nowhere else to go and am very stressed. I have never had a fish die in my tank and feel awful about this guy.
<Take a chill pill, ten big breaths... Focus on your schooling and ignore the tank for now. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish seizure? 5/2/11
Dear Mr. Fenner,
Thanks for the info on LPS toxicity. I do have a concern about one of my Ocellaris clownfish and I'm not sure if it's related to coral allelopathy or some sort of internal or external parasite. I've had this Clown for about 3 years and I'm very familiar with his behavior. Today, however, it looked as if he were turning his head to the side to try and bite his own tail and then straightening back up again. He would do this rapidly, back and forth, over and over, for 2 to 3 seconds at a time. It looked like a mini seizure. This is not the same "twitching" that Clownfish usually display when they are near each other.
<Am familiar w/ these displays>
Plus, along with these "seizures", he also flaps his pectoral fins rapidly, either one at a time or sometimes both at the same time, also for a second or two. It almost reminds me of a cat shaking his paw after stepping into something wet, he just shakes the fin/fins rapidly as if he's trying to get something off of them. He is scratching a bit during these seizures , so I can tell something is irritating him. He was not scratching before this started. When he does scratch, it's only the front of his mouth that he scratches, not the side of his body or his gills. In the past 3 years, when he would rarely scratch against something, it would always be in this manner. He did eat and his breathing seems normal. There are no signs of external parasites and the other fish, and other Clownfish, are all acting normal. When this behavior started, the seizures were happening every 5 to 10 seconds. Now, a few hours later, they have slowed to one every 3 or 4 minutes and they are nowhere as intense. At this rate I'm hoping that by tomorrow morning he'll be back to normal. All my water parameters are where they should be. Any ideas? Sincerely, Art S.
<This behavior is likely related to the ills your corals are involved w/.
It will abate with their improvement, or if you have room elsewhere, I would move these fish. Bob Fenner>

Please Help! "Fix"/API poisoning of Clownfishes 4/18/11
Hi to my favorite aquabuddies!
I am in need of some help- as the more I research, the less I know what I am looking at.
Can you please look at my link, and tell me what you think.
(if the above link does not work... I am listed as Volitans2007 on YouTube, it is there in my video list, but I hope this works for you to get an idea of what I am seeing)
Tiny white nodules / bumps on one of my Picassos.
History: when I had acquired them (very very small babies), they were fine, in fact "found" each other, so I bought the pair in hopes they will mate. Upon being home for a few weeks, they began to bicker, fight, bite, etc- I figured to establish dominance?
<Likely so>
They both had 'wounds' that looked fuzzy on their mouths, where they had been biting, I began dosing Melafix, and they were fine.
The one (whom I think is the female - to - be) is doing well. The smaller one is the one I am concerned about.
He had broken out in little bumps when I stopped the Melafix (thinking they were fine I stopped it). And it goes away.
I noticed if he gets stressed, it comes back, like when I add coral or change the rockwork. So my initial thought was Ich. But this is raised, I can see it, it looks more like nodules. Not a dusting of salt like Ich is referred to.
A fellow hobbyist suggested this link:
I am not sure - monogenean parasites? Nematodes?
<Not likely, no>
Any ideas at all of what this could be, and what course of treatment I can take?
<Some sort of irritation to the skin... not Crypt, nor Lymphocystis...>
( I have fish flex forte in the house, but have never used it on my fish... if this may help- how do I dose it?)
<Don't know>
Thank you- I am stressing out - not sure what to do.
Michelle Yingst
<I'd work on improving the environment, perhaps bolstering immunity (supplementing foods)... Not add Mela- or any other "fix". Bob Fenner>
Re: Please Help! 4/18/11
I have come to love contacting the Crew, as you all respond VERY quickly, and it is appreciated!
I moved the pair into a separate tank, with a foam filter for now, a clay pot, and a heater (a few rocks to keep the filter in place)
I just dosed some Melafix before I sat down and saw your response.
<... please see WWM re this phony product Michelle... of all people, you work in the real medical sciences. This material is toxic>
Ok- I will hold off on continuing to add that, and will continue instead with a wider variety of food, the garlic diced very fine as suggested by another hobbyist,
-VitaChem? - Selcon? essential elements?
<The first two>
I will be sure to boost these little guys up, as I am soo in love with them, I can't wait for the day I can be a proud mamma to a clutch of their babies! Their coloration / patterns have come in nicely :) So I want to be sure to help them heal. And keep them around for a very healthy, happy life. :)
Question- though... lower the salinity/sg and temp? Or remain at 78degrees and 1.036, had read 1.018 would help kill any parasite? True/False? And would that affect the fish in a negative way?
<Leave all else as is... there is no parasite here>
(* on a totally separate note, but since I have you here lol, I am going to take advantage of being able to share with you: on my "Percularis" babies you helped me ID, only one is still going very strong, the others have not survived. Today the little guy is 87 days old! Whoo hoo!!! That is a big accomplishment considering I haven't been able to get any of the babies from this pair to survive. I have another clutch due this week, so excited to see how many this time around will make it. I do notice the egg clusters are getting bigger in size/count- so I am hoping this helps.- Just wanted to share :) )
Have a great evening-
Your friend, Mich
<And you dear. BobF>
Re: Please Help! 4/19/11
Good morning, and thank you.
Well, I woke up this morning to 2 happy Picassos. :)
<Ah good>
*I will definitely stop using this product, and will look into it.
<It's worse than a placebo...>
(I went on the suggestion of a LFS owner, something I usually NEVER do, as I always go with my gut, but for some reason thought I should try the 'natural' remedy of Melafix.
<Would you do this if it were important for your own health? I would hope/trust not>
I work in the office part of the field, collections specialist : accounts.
But I will be jumping into the reviews of this product.
Thank you for pointing it out to me)
Thank you again- you are a wealth of help and knowledge.
Until next time :)
<Be seeing you. BobF>

Clownfish acting crazy! /Bob 4/14/2011
Hi hope you can help. I've checked all you're faq and can't find an answer to my Clarks Clownfish's sudden very odd behaviour. I have a 29g tank running with v2 Nano skimmer, Fluval 305 canister filter and approx 25lbs of live rock. Inhabitants are the one clownfish, one yellow tail damsel, one peppermint shrimp and 10ish hermit crabs.
Parameters as of today are;
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 80 - high I know but its slowly coming down and its no worse now than it always has been
<Toxic, stressful... Likely the canister filter...>
ph 8.2
Temp 75
SG - 1.020
<Too low... see WWM re>
Tank has been setup now for approx 14 months and my clownfish was the first addition so he must have been in there for a year now with no obvious problems. Today however he is acting crazy - spinning upside down, whizzing around and smashing into stuff, hiding up by the skimmer and it almost seems like he's trying to jump out of the tank. In between bouts of craziness he is gasping for breath and lying at the bottom of the tank. I'm thinking of doing a big water change even though all the parameters seem ok
<?! The NO3?>
but maybe that would make things worse?
<It is a good idea>
The damsel seems fine so maybe whatever it is, is just specific to him?
<No; all are being mal-affected>
I haven't made any recent significant changes other than adding the canister filter but that was over six weeks ago now. I really hope you can help, he's my first ever marine fish and I would hate to
see him go.
<See the above. Environmental; the too-low density, too-high NO3. Bob Fenner>
Clownfish Acting Crazy!/Clownfish Behavior/Disease 4/14/2011 /James
Hi hope you can help.
<Hello Tom, and will try to help.>
I've checked all you're faq and can't find an answer to my Clarks Clownfish's sudden very odd behaviour. I have a 29g tank running with v2 Nano skimmer, Fluval 305 canister filter and approx 25lbs of live rock. Inhabitants are the one clownfish, one yellow tail damsel, one peppermint shrimp and 10ish hermit crabs.
Parameters as of today are;
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 80 - high I know but its slowly coming down and its no worse now than it always has been
ph 8.2
Temp 75
SG - 1.020
Tank has been setup now for approx 14 months and my clownfish was the first addition so he must have been in there for a year now with no obviuos <obvious>
problems. Today however he is acting crazy - spinning upside down, whizzing around and smashing into stuff, hiding up by the skimmer and it almost seems like he's trying to jump out of the tank. In between bouts of craziness he is gasping for breath and lying at the bottom of the tank. I'm thinking of doing a big water change even though all the parameters seem ok but maybe that would make things worse? The damsel seems fine so maybe whatever it is, is just specific to him? I haven't made any recent significant changes other than adding the canister filter but that was over six weeks ago now. I really hope you can help, he's my first ever marine fish and I would hate to see him go.
<Does the fish appear to have white spots (Ich/crypt) or any abnormal coloration?
For starters I would do a 20% water change and clean out the canister filter and replace media with a unit of Chemipure. There may be a toxin of some type present in the water (barring no disease issues) that the
Chemipure will remove. Based on the information you have provided, I'm leaning toward a parasitical disease.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Clownfish prob., BiOrb -- 07/17/10
Hi guys,
I have a clownfish problem I hope you can help with.
<Me too>
I have recently purchased a BiOrb 30l and changed it over to marine.
<... these small, roundish tanks/systems are more a gimmick than viable aquatic environments... not much can be kept in such aquariums well or for long>
I have also purchased two Perculas and a cleaner shrimp.
<Won't live here...>
It's my first time keeping clowns and I've noticed a thin red line down the inside of the body running from head to tail with a large bit behind the gills. I'm hoping it's nothing and maybe just the fishes insides? The lines and 'blob' are almost transparent but are on both fish. I've kept all the parameters with the water as close to how it should be, if not spot on.
They are very happy eating and swimming I'm just a bit concerned about the lines. Please help. Thanks alot
<... there is no such word as alot... And the only solution here is to get a real system. Please read here:
the last/bottom tray, re Systems et al.. Bob Fenner>

Damn sorry. Re... cont. of BiOrb/Clown env. dis. 7/19/10
This is a Biocube. 16 or 19 and that
White stuff started to grow. Is it good or bad?
<? Generally bad... BobF>
What is the white stuff? 7/19/10
Thanks much
<Mmm, can't tell for sure, but likely bacterial secondary infection from environmental "stress". Please read here:
and especially the FAQs file: http://wetwebmedia.com/clndisenv.htm
Bob Fenner>

Re: re: Damn sorry. BiOrb soon to be bygone Clowns 7/19/10
It seems that you thought I meant the clown fish was sick, I meant the white slag-(growing up) The fish look OK to me.
<... both are not. Doug Adams>

Re: re: Damn sorry. Ongoing re Bi (Necro) Orb, Clownfish hlth./deaths 7/21/10
My friend said that you are the best, so we all make mistakes, ESP me In Gmail. But, what are those white things that grow up like stalagmites?
D Mc
<Mmm, decomposition products... the result/s of bacteria, fungi et al. accumulated metabolites... I'd like to state some related, hopefully useful statements... This system is not "completely filtering"... hence the presence, growth of this material... You should take the time to study what you're about here... unfortunately... these systems are not at all easily modified, able to be added to. Do seek others input on the Net re. B>

Re: re: Damn sorry. 7/22/10
I just erased a complete message, d basically thank you, I fell 20' broke ribs and a vertebrae,
<Yowwww! Am glad you're still alive! Have had much slighter falls, and it hurts to breath period>
I LL do more when I "LLC do more when I feel when. I can thanks, can we it's easier then typing? Let me know.
Duncan McIntosh (not rich, retired cop from NY, 30 miles north.
<Do take care. BobF>

White growth on percula clown 04/18/10
<Morning John>
I'm a big fan of the site, visited many many times over the years, and I usually can find the information I need by simply searching through your site. This time I need a little more help if you can spare it.
<I can>
My percula clown has developed a rounded white growth just above his gills on the side of his body. I just noticed it a few days ago. I took some photos on Wed when I noticed it (attached) and now on Sat (attached), and it has grown quickly. The lesion is mostly white, with an irregular surface, with some component under the surface of the scales, grown from about 2 mm 4 days ago to about 3 mm today, and raised about 2 mm or so.
There may also be a tiny new lesion close to the dorsal fin now that wasn't there Wed.
He is a few years old, not a recent member of the tank.
<Is the Euphyllia new?>
I have a 45g reef tank with healthy coral and invertebrates, and my water parameters are good. As far as I know he has not been injured recently, and his activity level/feeding are normal. However, he has had a major stressor in his life, since his beloved years-old anemone disappeared a couple of weeks ago, and he has taken to hanging out with some hammerhead coral instead.
Reading through your site and others, I was thinking this could be viral Lymphocystis (cauliflower disease), or possibly a parasite, epitheliocystis, or a reaction to injury.
What do you think?
<The last>
He is not in quarantine at the moment. Clearly the treatment, prognosis, and infectiousness are different depending on the diagnosis. What would you recommend?
<Mmm, either trying to be patient, removing the Euphyllia or replacing the lost Anemone>
Thanks in advance,
John V
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: White growth on percula clown 4/18/2010
Hi Bob,
<Hey John>
Thank you for the quick reply. I really appreciate your opinion. I am relieved that it probably isn't an infection of some kind.
<I'm very confident that this injury is resultant from sting, irritation here>
The Euphyllia has also been in the tank for a few years, and the clown has previously gone to it many times, when the anemone would retract for example. I would rather not remove the Euphyllia since it seems like a good citizen otherwise (and because I have 5 heads of it). I will try to have some patience to allow the sore to heal, but it isn't easy. I will look into getting a new anemone as well.
Thank you for your help,
<Welcome. BobF>

Clownfish Question.... hlth., env.... 4/15/10
<Hello Angie>
I have searched the different topics on the website, but found nothing specific to my issue.
Any help is appreciated!!
<Ok, lets go!>
I have a 2 Clownfish, a Frog Spawn, Mushrooms, Colt Coral, Snails, and Polyps in my tank. So to add a little colour to the tank I purchased a Yellow Tang 3 weeks ago.
<Is your tank large enough for this fish?>
He seemed healthy upon purchase. After a week he had a cloudy eye. I took him to my friend that owns an aquatic store and he told me that he had a "parasite".
<Not likely the cause. 99% of the time, one cloudy eye is an injury, two is poor water quality>
The Tang was put in the sick tank and died a week later.. sad :(
<No doubt due to poor maintenance/ set-up of said hospital tank. Probably ammonia et. al.>
Then my new concern become my two Clownfish. They did not look sick, but they were hiding, but eating well. We checked the salinity and it was high.. around 29
<Do you mean 1.029? I am going to assume you are in S.G. here>
...BAD!! So last week I did frequent water changes and added freshwater to get the salinity back around 22...
<Do you mean 1.022? This is far too low. Wants to be 1.025 -- 1.026 especially if you have corals. Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/maintindex.htm>
water looks GREAT! BUT my clownfish are still hiding; eating well, but hiding. The water has been at 22 for about a week.
Is the hiding something with the salinity "shock" or could it be a parasite?
<Probably not the salinity, unless indirectly. By changing this quickly to such a low level you could have killed of something in your system which is having a negative effect on your fish. I would run some carbon here and gradually raise the salinity to where it should be. Do you see any external signs of parasites?>
If it is a parasite, what am I looking for
<Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm>
and will my tank ever be able to host other fish again?
<Mmm, you are probably ok here'¦ I would just watch and observe, these will probably settle down again after a while. You make no mention of any other test results re: water quality, or the size of your system>
Re: Clownfish 4/15/10
Good Morning, thanks for the speedy response!
<It's late afternoon/ early evening for me!>
With the fact that the Tang had both cloudy eyes let's chalk it up to poor water quality since the Salinity level was at 1.029.
<Actually this would not cause this, more likely the cause is high organics in the water. Overloading the system. Nitrates, excessive D.O.C.>
Not sure about the maintenance of the hospital tank, he was at the local store.
<? The shop took this fish back?>
I put him there on a Sat. and went back and checked on him Wed., he looked great!
<This is at the store?>
But, when I went back on Fri. he was on his side, on the bottom of the tank, fighting for air.
<Mmm, not sure what to say here.. there is something missing/ not quite right about this..>
Great article on maintenance,
<Yes! One of many such marvelous articles written on here>
I topped the tank off this morning with salt water (about 1 gallon) and the salinity looks to be at 1.025. So, I guess the salinity may have been a little higher than 1.022 originally
Looked at the articles and I don't THINK that we have anything like this. I want to protect my clownfish.
<Then you should be quarantining every animal before you introduce it to your Clowns http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm>
Still not positive about the death of the Tang, not that there is anything that I can do about the Tang now, but I would really like another one soon.
<Your tank is far too small for any Tang. At a minimum it needs to be three times bigger http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangsysfaqs.htm>
I tested Ph, Nitrite, Ammonia, all the tests were in normal range
<This statement is of no help to me. What is normal for one, is not normal for another. What about Nitrate?>
except the Carbonate Hardness. It was really low, 170, not sure why.
<Mmm, this is ppm? Actually equates to about 9.5 dKH. Perfectly fine.>
I use one capful of Purple Up every night after the lights are off.
<An expensive means of supplying a two part additive to the system.
I have done this for years and everything has always been good. My carbon levels always looked good until now.
I have a 30 Gallon tank-the clownfish that we are discussing are tank raised orange and white Ocellaris.
<If it were me & mine I would not be adding any more fish at all here, but if you do then you want to look for ones that grow to no more than two inches max. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nanoreefsysart.htm>

Stressed or sick clown fish 4/14/10
I have had 2 clown fish for over two years and both have been very content with each other's company. However a few days ago, it appears the smaller one is stressed out and is hiding from the larger one. When ever the small
comes out of hiding the larger one chases it.
<Change of the times... the larger, female becoming more aggressive>
The smaller one is also changing color to a darker orange. I don't see any white spots on it however I am very concerned. The tank is a 35 gallon tank.
<What species of Amphiprionine are these? This tank may be too small>
The condition of the water is tested every two weeks and everything is normal/stable and has been over the past two years. Any help you can give would be appreciated. By the way, keep up the great work on your web site
<Umm, time for you to use it... Read here:
and the linked files above... Bob Fenner>

Re: stressed or sick clown fish 4/16/10
Thank you for the quick response. I believe the type of clown fish I have are Amphiprion Percula Clown Fish. I have since removed the male and placed it in my quarantine tank for safety. It appears after two days to be doing
fine. I notice it has a few areas missing on his fins where I believe the female has bitten him. Should I keep him away for a week or two and then try
him back it in the main tank or should I see if the store will take him?
<I would float the one/aggressor in a plastic colander in the tank for a few days while the subdominant individual has full reign of the tank and see if this takes the "spit and vinegar" out of the female. BobF>

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

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

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

Clownfish question! Help save him! Tank Setup. (Over) stocking Fish health 2/2/2010
<Hi Dan.>
I have a 20g tank with 20lbs live rock.
1 yellow tang 1 damsel blue with yellow tail and 1 true percula clownfish.
<Grossly overstocked. Yellow tangs need at least 75 gallons when mature, Clowns really need at least 30 gallons.>
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/StkgSmSWsysArt.htm >
<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/YellowTang.htm >
<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm >
The first day I got the clown he disappeared and I found him still alive in the dry part of the filter and put him back in the tank and he survived.
It has been about 2 weeks. He only hangs out at the top of the tank where the overflow flows into the filter ( where he got sucked in ). The thing is, my previous deceased clown did the same exact thing.
<Overcrowded with some aggressive fish. Likely some poor water quality as well. What do your water tests indicate?>
I got him an anemone 3 days ago but he stays in the same spot.
<Anemones are challenging under the best of circumstances, it has no real chance in a tank of this size stocked the way it is.>
Sometimes he just puts his head down and tail up and just hangs out. Looks beautiful and healthy, not breathing rapidly. Any help would be so appreciated!
<I would return the fish to the store and start reading. Your setup is not sustainable. Suggest you start here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/marsetupindex1.htm >
OH yeah! Tank 3 months old.
<Too young. Please, return the fish and read up before continuing.>

Re: Clownfish question! Help save him! Tank Setup. (Over) stocking Fish health 2/4/2010
<Hi Dan.>
Thank you very much for your response. I have read most of that and had a few more questions.
My water is nearly perfect, and has been for months. I check it every 5 days.
<Ok, what were the readings? Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, salinity\specific gravity and pH?>
And my yellow tang is no larger than a half-dollar.
<For now. Tangs grow pretty quickly. My Sailfin Tang was about that size when I bought him. Just over a year later he is just over 6 inches long and the undisputed boss of my 150 gallon tank.>
Is it still too much for him?
<Unfortunately, yes. It is a common problem, particularly with people new to the hobby. All the fish 'fit' in the tank now, but they grow. Further, saltwater fish need more space than freshwater fish If they start to feel crowded, they will make room for themselves; usually by bullying smaller fish, eventually bullying them to death. Damsels are aggressive by their very nature. Those cute little Domino Damsels you see in pet stores have been known to chase divers in the wild.>
Also, the clown is maybe an inch long.
<Perfect tang fodder.>
Should I remove the damsel?
<I would remove the damsel and the tang. With good maintenance, you can sustain a clown in a 20 gallon setup. Also, since you have an anemone, in such a small space, it is very likely to sting the tang and the damsel, As the system is still so new, I am not confident that the Anemone will survive either, but the chances are better with no other large bullying fish in the tank.>
Also, do you think it is just stress that is causing the clown to exhibit this behavior
<If the water parameters are good, then yes.>
.Thank you again so much for your help!
<My pleasure>

Hyper-Melanization on A. ocellaris (Euphylliid or Paravortex to blame) 1/8/10
Hi you people are funny indeed.
<<Have you ever heard the phrase, 'Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying?' That comes to mind but we appreciate the compliment.>>
Please tell me that my clown fish have theses black little dots on them because they have being rubbing up against my frogspawn & torch corals I have never seen them do this but what happens at night who knows.
<<Could be one of two things. You are on the right track for one, you're A. Ocellaris are suffering from hyper-melanization, in essence burns that are causing tissue damage resulting in the animals pigmentation change. It's common condition when Clowns choose an unnatural suitor as their host in captivity, usually associated Euphyllids. In some cases the animal is able to adjust and recovers with no lasting effects, assuming nutrition and water quality are within acceptable parameters. In some cases however it persists in which case the host or the hostee needs to be removed. More often than not though the fish ends up doing more harm to the Euphyllids than the other way around, they are built to take the punishment that an anemone with no calcareous parts have evolved to take. That's possibility number one. The other possibility, and the slimmer one, is Paravortex, which is a Turbellarian parasite, though not a very constricting or evolved one. Of course if Paravortex is to blame you'd likely see your other fish infected as well, so my money is on the former, Euphylliid interaction scenario to be the culprit. Both issues are correctable though, you have my advice re: the Euphyllids issue and here is our FAQ's on Paravortex; http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paravortexfaqs.htm .>>
Thank you for any help you can give me with this problem.
Chris [ a first time tank owner]
<<Good luck, - Adam J.>>

Clown fish with missing skin? 10/15/09
Hello Wet Web Crew!
I have searched through your site (and others) and I cannot for the life of me find any information on my problem.
I have a small pair of juvenile True Percula Clowns who seem to have skin missing from both their dorsal and anal(?) fins.
About half of each fin is still there from the front to the middle, and from there on there is only spines.
They move along with the others when the fins are both raised or relaxed, but have no webbing connecting them to the others.
Will the fish deteriorate further or will the fins heal and grow back?
<Depends on the cause... but, if the elements aren't too far eaten back, they can/do regenerate>
I have seen ripped tail and pectoral fins, I've even seen missing fins grow back, but I have never seen the spines intact sans skin.
My clowns do not nip at each other, nor is there any harmful equipment that they could get hurt on (Such as a power head with no cover). I have no corals, nor any anemone that could hurt them, though I doubt it would have much effect on a Clown anyway.
What would cause this?
<Mmmm, a few other "things"... aspects of water quality next most common... but genetics, nutrition...>
There are no predators that could have done this in the tank. The only changes in the tank have been a recent horrible outbreak of both Cyano and GHA.
I think this was caused by the water in my new house. In my old house I was lucky enough to have good water that could be put in my tank. Could the new water be to blame?
Thank you so much for your help,
<Perhaps a unit of Chemipure, Polyfilter... augmenting their foods with a vitamin/HUFA supplement. These should help toward the fin regrowth. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish not looking well: Likely Allelopathy Too many anemones and polyps in a small space. 8/6/2009
<Hi Anna>
Started our saltwater tank August 2008. We adjusted our tank slowly. We filtered our LR for a whole 30 days, then we added the sand. We waited an additional month and began to add fish and anemone. Knowing what we know now we would have waited longer to add the fish and anemone. We would have
tested our levels better and researched food.
<But you are learning.>
We seemed to be doing well until two months ago. Suddenly our Firefish became listless, not his usual zippy self. His mouth was open and he was gasping. He has been this way for two months now, still alive somehow. I have no idea how his feeding has been. We see him occasionally <Something in the water or some other fish beating him up.>.
Last month one of our percula clowns became listless as well. He laid on the bottom of the tank and just bobbed around in one spot. He didn't appear
to eat much. His mouth was constantly open and turning translucent. He began to lose color in his fins and his stripes began to fade a little into his orange.
<This is a telling clue here,>
He disappeared, we have been unable to find him in our tank. We did notice a spike in our nitrates and we did a water change to correct this last week. Now our other percula clown has developed the same symptoms.
She is listless, not eating, mouth open and paling....none of the fish had any substance come off of them when we performed our freshwater dips. They don't seem to have any dots or splotches on their bodies.
<No, this isn't a disease.>
We want to find out what is wrong before we lose another. We have been unable to find any information
on our fishes symptoms. What are we doing wrong?
<See below.>
tank: 55gallons, fully adjusted for almost a year pH and chemical levels: normal range
<Sorry, pet peeve - What is normal? Actual values make it much easier to diagnose.. salinity: normal <1.023 - 1.026?>
food: anemone- mysis shrimp and silversides, fish- flake food
occupants: 2 percula clowns, blue damsel, Firefish, blenny, mandarin, hermit crab, 3 snails,
<A bit crowded for a 55, but not too bad. The Mandarin is likely to starve in such a small tank though.>
BTA, LTA, and another type of anemone whose name I have forgotten, and numerous feather tip anemone, polyps, and corals.
<Ding! We have a winner. Too many anemones and polyps in the tank. You essentially have a chemical war going on in your tank between the anemones, and the various corals. Your fish are caught in the crossfire.
You will need to remove at least two of the anemones and likely some of the polyps.. Additionally, do run carbon in your filter to soak up these toxins.>
<Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypcompfaqs.htm >

Re: Clownfish not looking well: Likely Allelopathy Too many anemones and polyps in a small space. 8/7/2009
<Hi Anna.>
Okay, well the polyps and feather dusters and corals and sponge popped up out of nowhere (Hello! *LIVE* rock!).
At this time we have 4 red polyps and 4 yellow polyps. We have two 1 inch in diameter feather dusters, and many small ones (about 1/4 inch in diameter at most). We have patches of sponge and coral, varying from 1/2 inch in size to 3 inches in size. All of it just showed up once we established our rock and sand.
<Nice hitchhikers.>
We also moved in the beginning of June. We separated the fish (only one clown at this time) and (at the time) one anemone (2 inches across) into bags of salt water, kept our rock submerged in buckets of salt water, kept the sand under one inch of salt water. We moved the tank and its occupants and had it set up and adjusted within two hours. Everything was smooth.
Only our mandarin showed stress, but as soon as we provided fresh copepods, he was fine. Then one week later, Firefish became listless and began losing his color. I just saw him today eating, still not his zippy self.
<Ammonia spike or something toxic in the water...>
We have around 70lbs of live rock (guesstimate) and 60lbs of sand (2 inches deep). Most of our rock is small however, leaving our tank about 30% full.
Our pH is normal: 8.0; Nitrate is normal: 0; Nitrite is normal: 0; and ammonia is normal: 0. We perform 30% water changes every two weeks using RO water and we prime it. Last week, because of the sudden nitrate spike, we performed a 50% water change. We use Reef Crystals salt with calcium and keep our salinity at 1.024.
<This is a telling clue... Where did the nitrate come from? Nitrate comes from decaying organics Something in the tank caused the spike. Either the biological filtration was interrupted, or something is dead\dying.>
Since moving we have added a large rose bubble-tip anemone, about 6 inches when open. We just this week added a third anemone, a Condylactis I believe, about 4 inches when open.
These two remain on opposite sides of the tank, with our tiny 2 inch long-tip anemone in the center. They never bother one another and all eat very well.
<It is never a good idea to mix anemones, particularly ones of different species. They are aware of each other and are 'fighting' - even if you cannot see it. Another important thing to remember, anemones can and do sting, especially slow moving or timid fish - like Firefish>.
I also neglected to inform you that we also have a sand-sifting starfish.
I forgot about him as he is always under sand. We got him after the move, after we got our second anemone (6 inches across). He takes care of our slime.
<Another telling clue. where is the slime coming from? Also, sand sifting stars usually consume everything edible in the sandbed and then starve to death in systems less than 100+ gallons.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsiftfaqs.htm >
Now, whatever has happened to our Firefish and first percula clown happened BEFORE we added the new anemones and starfish. Now that the fist percula clown has died, the second is showing the same symptoms (listless, mouth gaping, not feeding, color blending through stripes).
<Again, since your water quality seems ok, we can only conclude that something in your tank is poisoning the fish, either by chemical release or by stinging>
All of the other fish appear fine and quite content.
If it helps any: we have two powerheads on opposite sides of aquarium, one directed up and one directed downward. We have a wave-generator in the center. We also have two filters. The water stays very clean thanks to our cleaning crew (hermit crab, 3 snails, and a starfish).
<Please read the articles I originally referred you to and do consider adding carbon to your filtration system in an attempt to soak up any noxious chemicals in your system.>

URGENT........Sick Clownfish 7/25/09
I am wondering if you have seen this on a clown fish, or any fish for that matter before.
<The interesting darkish band about midriff?>
We have had a suggestion it is some kind of Clownfish disease, however, she originally showed no signs of loss of appetite, and no lethargy, nor was/is she hanging out at the top of the tank as suggested gasping for air.
I have attached some pictures of the fish and the strange mark that has appeared.
It started on one side 6 days ago, a couple of mm's wide by about 1.0 cm long, when we got home about 10:30pm that night and it had spread across her whole middle section on both sides.
Fish was displaying no other signs of distress/sickness. We observed her slightly flaring her gills, but nothing that you would notice unless you were really looking hard.
The tank itself is in good condition, and none of the other fish are displaying any symptoms.
We have relocated her to a QT, with lower salinity. (Note: bringing the salinity back up gradually now)
In the last 4 days she has since lost all appetite and seems be struggling.
Laying on the bottom of the QT. the gasping has stopped.
<Likely mostly due to "just" being moved, acclimating to the new settings>
It seemed as soon as we moved her to the QT that is when she lost her appetite. I think it distressed her a lot.
The mark was going but has now stopped disappearing and the same colour is appearing faintly on her head.
We have treated her with Oodinium treatment and also an antifungal over the last 4-5 days with no improvement.
<Mmm, I would not treat this fish... I suspect the discoloration is either nervous involvement or some response to stress as you state... The "medicines" will do more harm than help>
If you could give me the heads up that would be great.
<This animal will likely self-cure in time. Bob Fenner>

Re: Clownfish with a growth/sore around its mouth... env. 6/1/2009
Hi there, apologies for the delayed reply I have been away. I tried to take photos but unfortunately my camera is not that good and I could not get a good enough shot. I did manage to get a somewhat blurry video and although the file was too big to send you I have sent some of the frames from it. I hope you are able to see his mouth.
<I see... that it appears permanently agape... perhaps whitish about>
He now seems to be unable to close his mouth and it is almost raised at the edges. I have given up on the theory of injury as it has now been many weeks and he seems to be becoming more deformed.
<Could be at least attributable to genetics>
In himself he seems fine and is eating but I am obviously concerned as it doesn't look very nice and is getting worse. I also don't know if this could affect the other fish.
<Depending on cause... but...>
He has what look like tiny raised blood veins very close to the surface of his skin near his mouth as well.
The colour has returned to normal but what started on the chin (I know fish don't have chins, it's the easiest way to describe it) has returned to normal colour and I thought he was recovering until I noticed his mouth has
changed shape completely.
My water readings are:
phosphate 0.5
<Way too high>
pH 8.0
nitrate 0.1
KH 170
Nitrite 0.1
Ammonia 1.2
<These last two are deadly toxic... Nitrogenous anomaly is at least partly at fault here... See WWM re fixing... and do ASAP or move to a completely cycled system. Stat! RMF>
I appreciate your help thank you so much in advance

Help me help my poor clarkii clowns
38 Liter Tank ....Overstocked 6/1/09

Hello there,
< Hello>
First off let me say thank you for creating such a good source of friendly info!
< Thank you >
I'm pretty new to keeping Marine fish, so if i don't explain things fully, I'm sorry. I got myself a 38 liter tank
< 10 gallon >
a few month back with everything needed to start a new marine tank up (salt, live rock, coral gravel etc.) and I let the tank mature for a good two weeks (as advised by my local aquatic pet shop)
< Not enough time for a full cycle. 6 to 8 week average.>
and I purchased 2 black clown fish (not 100% sure on their real name, I know they're not Percula clowns as they have orange faces)
< The orange face is not specific to the Percula or Ocellaris. Neither of which should be housed in a 10 gallon. >
one male and one female (size difference is a lot) and they lived quite happy together for about 3 weeks and I decided I liked clarkii clowns too,
< Uh oh...don't do it !>
so I asked questions about them getting on together and my local said they should be fine. So I got two clarkii clowns to attempt to stop bullying,
< .. you did it...>
well the first night it was horrible, they were going for each other and the black clowns too, but I stuck with them and they all seemed to settle down and live fine,
< That is way ,way to many fish for a 10 gallon. Neither pair should be housed in anything less than a 20 gallon.>
I waited another few weeks and introduced a blue chromis and a red legged hermit crab (which was two days ago)
< Its getting worse >
and everything was ok there too, but yesterday I decided to get a humbug damsel (from a different shop) and here lies my problem I think, I put the humbug in and left the lights off for a while (as I usually do) I put them on and feed (as its feeding time for my fish (yesterday was freeze dried brine shrimp yum!) and everyone was happy eating. Then I noticed that the black female clown was really agitated and swimming around fast and going for the humbug (color issue perhaps?)
< Territorial disputes. Clownfish are extremely territorial. To many fish in to small of an area. >
so I thought I'd leave them a day to settle in. I woke up this morning and everything was ok so
< Its not. >
I fed them and went to work, I got home from work and I noticed both my clarkii clowns have bite marks on the side of their faces, so of course I think humbug or female clown (with her being so aggressive to the humbug) so I watch the tank for a while and sure enough the clowns chasing the humbug every chance she gets so I figure, I'll bag the humbug up and see what happens, and everything's calmed down a bit. My question is (a long time coming I know) how can I make sure my Clarkiis don't die, they seem... shaken up or just hurt
< Stressed>
(one of them is fighting to keep swimming at times), I really don't want anything to happen to them.
Sorry for such a long email, I'm just really worried about my clarkii, any help you can give me would be really really great
Thank you for your time
Daniel Smith
< If you want to save them, remove them. This behavior will continue until one ore more are dead. Both pairs of clowns should be removed as well as the Chromis. A 10 gallon is not suitable for almost any marine fish. If an upgrade in size is not possible then consider stocking with an ornamental shrimp pair. GA Jenkins >

Killer Clown? Not Guilty - 8/29/08 Hi. <Halloo!> I've had a 29-gallon, fish-only saltwater tank for about 2 1/2 years now. For about the past year or so, I've had only 3 fish (2 "Nemo" clowns and 1 royal gramma). <I commend and thank you for not overstocking your tank> They all seemed to be getting along. However, in the past 1 1/2 weeks (literally, about 4 days apart), I've had one of the clowns and the royal gramma both die under mysterious circumstances. All I have left is one clownfish. I immediately did a water test and the results were all normal: pH: 8.2 Ammonia: 0 Nitrites: 0 Nitrates: 0 SG: 1.020 Temps during the summer months have been ranging between 78F and 84F (nothing different from previous years). Whenever it's really warm out, I've been placing a large ice block (encased in a container) in the tank to cool the water back to about 78-80. <This could be the problem. While these are workable temperatures, a swing of more than 4* is certain to cause trouble> Neither of the 2 dead fish exhibited any signs of distress or illness prior to their deaths, and both were eating normally (Formula One, plus flake food). In addition, I've been watching the remaining clown for any signs of illness, and he's been fine. I haven't really witnessed any signs of aggression from the remaining clown, but I'm forced to wonder if he was responsible for killing the other two fish. I didn't see any dramatic signs of trauma on either of the dead fish other than it looked like each of the fish may have been missing one of its smaller fins. Even then, though, I'm not sure if that damage was post-mortem or not. I'm not sure what to do here. I'd like to get more fish, but I want to know that they'll be healthy and happy in my aquarium. I also don't want to get rid of my existing clown if he's not the problem (I've heard that clowns can be aggressive, although I've never seen any aggression on his part except for the occasional chasing of the other clown). All that said, my questions are as follows: 1. Are there any other water-testing parameters I should be testing for to ensure the problem is not with my water quality? <Not in this case, no. If all the fish had died, I'd check for heavy metals, but since you have a survivor I think a systemic poison can be ruled out> 2. Do you think the clown could have killed the other 2 fish, even though the two dead fish did not look terribly "beat up" (and the remaining clown does not look damaged at all)? <No, he's innocent. I suspect the temperature swings are responsible- and would be consistent with the lack of external damage or symptoms prior to death.> 3. As far as additional fish, what would you recommend for fish that would get along well with a clown in a 29-gallon tank? I've been told that a pygmy angel would do well in this scenario, but I'd like your opinion. <I think this tank is still too small for any of the angels- even dwarf or pygmy varieties. If you get the temperature under control, perhaps another clown and a small bottom-dwelling goby would fill out a nice aquarium?> thanks so much for your input! <No problem. Benjamin>

Clownfish and stressful week, thermal dis. 6/13/08 Hi there, We have a 55 gall tank that had a major issue during day 3 of our recent northeast heat wave when we were at work. This was the first heat wave with the tank in our new house, which has no AC. The prior two days we were home and temps had gone up but not drastically, and we kept an eye on things. We'd also used minimal lights so as to not add heat. <Good point> On Monday, the tank lights were off entirely. We're not sure what the temp hit, but it read 85 when we came home. <From what starting point? This temp. by itself should not be fatal> We lost our shrimp and goby, and thought we'd lose the clowns too, they were in a very bad way breathing much too quickly. <Perhaps indirectly temp. related... a dissolved oxygen issue... I'd increase aeration, circulation> We did not leave the tank alone on day 4 so we could much more closely monitor and intervene as needed. Anyway, we managed to bring/keep the temps down after the losses, with many tricks including swapped to egg crate top (we'd already moved most of the glass top off), got a fan just for them, water changes, to get temps controlled - and finally the heat broke. I know this a lot of negative action for a short time... anyway, my worry is about the clowns. They look well, good color, respiring well, but are lurking in their respective safe spots - female in her open brain, male in his little xenia patch. They are not doing much swimming or eating. When they do swim they look fine. No spots or frayed fins or anything physical that I can see. Temps now are at 78; the temp we usually keep the tank at. I imagine they still under stress but is there a way we can get them eating more or something else to help them recover?.. thank you. <Mmm, no; not really. That they are alive, appear normal is sign that they will very likely be fine. Bob Fenner>

Disease? Clownfish rdg. 03/11/2008 Hi Crew, <Jake> I have read many articles on your site and found your information helpful. Hopefully you may have a few suggestions regarding my tank issues. I have a 24 gallon saltwater tank with a several types of Zoanthids, a frogspawn, mushrooms, Ricordea, candy cane coral, xenia, and a skunk cleaner shrimp. <A whole bunch of disparate life jammed in> I have tested my water and taken water to a LFS for testing. My salinity was 1.024. My pH was 8.2. My ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite were approximately 0-0.25 ppm. <...> The temperature ranges from 78-80 degrees. My corals appear stress free and are growing nicely. I have had my cleaner shrimp and a tiny yellow tang (I know the tank is small, <Too> I was going to put him in a larger tank when he grew a little more) <...> for approximately three months. The tang has always ate <eaten> and acted normal. <normally> Two weeks ago, I purchased two tank raised true percula clowns (one came from ORA). One of the clownfish had been there for weeks, however, the other had only been at the LFS for a day. <... no quarantine...> They are a very reputable store and said the fish did eat and looked normal. After a week in my tank, the one clown continued to "show her dominance." She was never too aggressive, but my girlfriend did not like it and it did not look like they were going to be happy together, so I gave one of them to my friend (who has worked at a fish store for over 20 years) on a Thursday. Both clownfish appeared happy and ate in their tanks immediately. On the following Tuesday, however, I found my clown dead. He ate the day before and did not show signs of disease. My friend told me the clown I gave him died on Tuesday as well. His clown was in a tank by itself, his water parameters were all OK; however, he did notice a white film-like area on her side. On Thursday of that same week, I awoke to a dead yellow tang. Again, the tang appeared happy, ate the night before, and did not have any evidence of disease. When I talked to my friend, he said that the majority of shipments of clownfish they receive, after a few days, they develop a film-like area on their sides. I did go back to the store I purchased my clownfish and noticed a faint white film area on a side of one of three clowns left in the tank, which was not there the night I purchased my fish. The white film is not predominate and is not too easily noticed. My friend recommended only purchasing clownfish after they have been in the store for several weeks. <A good suggestion> To clarify, I did not purchase my clowns at this store. They were from a store a few hours away. Have you heard this before or was this an unlucky situation? Are tank-raised clowns a common carrier for a type of parasite/bacteria? I am obviously frustrated with two dead fish. Thank you in advance for any information, Jake <Uh... start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisart.htm and onto the linked files above... Perhaps stung by the Cnidarian life, maybe a Protozoan complaint, perhaps "just" stress... Bob Fenner>

I Don't Believe In Reality and That Settles That!

Sick Clowns... env., jammed into too-small volume, with a BTA... no reading 2/24/08 Hello, <Skyler> I've had a mated pair of clown fish for about 7 months, originally they were inside a basic ten gallon tank <... too small> with horrible lighting and they were doing fine. I recently moved them into a 12g NanoCube <Still> and they have been acting strange. I primed the cube using BioSpira and everything I need for about a month, I put them in and they were in there for about a week maybe two. I wanted them to mate so I purchased a small bubble tip anemone <...> and put that into the tank, it's been doing fine, my concern is with the female. She was always a bit paler than the male and quite larger in size but recently she has been laying on the bottom of the tank, I did a water change as always recommended but her behavior didn't improve. She doesn't have any noticeable marks from a parasite or anything but she has had a very poor appetite. These last two days she has been sitting on the bottom and will randomly spurt up and swim in a crazy way for about 10 seconds then go back to the bottom. Her top fin has been at rest for about a week and it has a slight pinkish hue to it. Her fins are becoming more and more transparent and I was wondering what was wrong. Thanks. <... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm and the linked files above, part. Systems... What you have won't work. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Clowns... env. 2/24/08 I don't need advice on what tank size I need to know what I can do about my fish they are sick and acting abnormally, I posted this because I didn't have 2 or 3 hours to read every single article, I just needed advice on what was wrong with them. Critiquing my tank size doesn't help me. <Your set-up is the root/cause of your problems... It's too small for the Clowns, an anemone... See my original comments re... READ! BobF>

Strange clowns 2/25/08 Hello, <Skyler> This is my second attempt at asking you guys about my clowns, I have a "mated pair" of percula clowns that I bought from my local pet store (trustworthy place) and I had them in a plain old 10 gallon setup with a penguin 100 filter and heater and bubbler. I wanted them to mate so I moved then in to a 12 gallon nano cube and they've been doing good up until recently. I purchased an anemone bubble tip) and I've had that for about 3-4 weeks now and the nano has had the clowns in it for 6-7 weeks. The female seemed to accept the anemone and the male stays in one corner of the tank and periodically will go "visit" the female. What are they doing? are they ok? The female has been acting slightly strange, she will "lay down" in spots and will rest there for 10 minutes at a time. She has no swellings or any spots or lesions, so I ruled out any time of external parasite, but she has had a bit of color loss and her dorsal fin has been at rest for about 3 days now. We checked the salt and it was at a horribly high number so we went to the pet store and we changed 4 gallons of it and added a new carbon bag and got the reading to about 1.025. She was doing slightly better today but still was at times laying on the bottom of the tank. Occasionally she would get up and twitch and move around. The male came over today and swam by her a bit and she didn't seem to mind this. Could they be possibly mating ( I had read somewhere that the female swims horizontally over a patch to get it ready for laying her eggs) is this true? I just really need to know what's going on with them. Thanks again, Skyler and yes I realize the tank is small but it's suitable for my budget and suitable for 2 fish and an anemone <Have already answered this... What you have system wise cannot, will not support the life you list... This is posted. B>

Re: Strange clowns............ -02/25/08 so you're telling me that the tank I have is the cause of this problem, the fish is acting like this because of the tank size, because if not I need to know because I cannot purchase a bigger size. I don't know much about fish keeping but, I need to know badly what I can do because I cannot and will not buy a new fish tank I can't afford it. so please if you can at all tell me how to solve it besides the fact that the tank is too small. < http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm>

Tomato Clownfish - black spots/blotches developing near top fin 2/2/08 Hi, I have a Tomato Clownfish (about 3-3.5") that I've had for several weeks now. He's in a 55 gallon FO aquarium with 2 yellowtail damsels that I bought a while before the clownfish (I didn't use them to cycle, I used raw shrimp instead), and a few crabs and snails. The aquarium is well established. I bought the clownfish at an LFS and he seemed to be very healthy and active then. Within the past couple weeks, I've been noticing several black "blotches" appearing on his sides... I'm really sorry I don't have a picture, I'll just have to describe it as best as I can. The spots are fairly big, not small and salt-like. It doesn't look like any disease that I know about, definitely not ich because the spots are big and black, and I'm pretty sure it's not velvet, clownfish disease, etc. The blotches aren't extremely dark, a couple of them are almost see-through a little bit. They are mostly on his sides near the top of him (near the top fin), but recently I noticed a very little bit at the rear near where the tail starts. They have been spreading fairly gradually, when I first got the clownfish none of them are there. Then a couple days later I noticed just a very, very little bit of them starting to appear, and now there are a few on each side. I have searched through most of the Clownfish Disease FAQ's on the site, and couldn't find anything too similar, although the closest I could find were 2 pictures on one of the FAQ pages... the link is http://wetwebmedia.com/clnfshdisfaq5.htm. Scroll down until you see the 3 clownfish pictures in a row, then look at the middle and bottom picture... that looks a lot like my Clownfish, except most of the spots are near the top, and near the white band (on the side opposite his face). There aren't quite that many spots yet and they're not that big, but it still looks really similar. None of the other fish (the 2 damsels) have shown any signs of anything yet, they have been acting perfectly normal and eating. The clownfish is also acting normal, I haven't seen any really weird behavior yet. He is alert and active, and is eating well... he's such a pig! I feed marine flakes most of the time, as well as freeze-dried krill and some other foods. The only thing that I have noticed is that he normally just stays near the surface and sometimes gasps for air at the surface, which I'm pretty sure isn't normal, so is that a major cause for concern? <Mmm, no> That could just be because I need to have more sources of oxygen and better water movement, this may be part of the problem?? <The real problem/issue is that this is a large specimen (A. frenatus or melanopus likely) that is highly stressed... from being pulled from its anemone, the sea... and the subsequent processing... the dark spots are indicative of this stress... not zoonotic> Main filtration is a big Tetra Whisper power filter. I also have 2 airstones in the tank... I know they don't help a lot in marine tanks, but I just like to see the bubbles, so I want to keep them unless I find out that they are downright bad. Are they actually harmful in marine aquariums, or are they just not particularly helpful?? <More helpful> Water parameters are mostly good - ammonia is 0 and nitrite is 0... nitrates are at about 50, I know that is really high, but I am trying hard to get it down and I'm doing a lot of water changes to help. Temp. is about 78° and pH is about 8.3. Hope that you can help me identify this or give me some good advice! Thank you! If you need any more information then email me and let me know! -Jesse <Well... my usual/stock advice re buying captive produced Clownfishes, avoiding large wild-collected ones as you have here... If this one adapts to captivity... it will likely prove to be a "bruiser"... Aggressive toward all fishes in its territory... which is larger than a 4 ft. long tank. Bob Fenner>

Quick Jawfish question... ID 02/03/2008 Hello guys and gals, I hope this email finds everyone well, <<Hello, Andrew here>> Just a quick question. I have set up a system specifically to house a Jawfish. I was waiting for a pearly eyed, but cannot seem to find any. My LFS just got in what they call a "indo Jawfish" they are a pretty cool looking species. However, I can't seem to find any info on them. <<More specifics are really needed from you regarding the fish. However, an average example of an indo Jawfish is the Opistognathus randalli. Use this to base your research around unless you can provide us with the specific name of the fish your getting>> I am curious to what size they get and if they require the same requirements as the other members of the Jawfish family. I believe it is the species U1 on your Jawfish page, has gold spots above both eyes with yellow vertical stripes on body. Thanks in advance for the info. Steve <<Thanks for the question. A Nixon>>

Urgent question about clownfish... many errors... time to read, past time 1/14/08 We have a newly established 10 gallon saltwater tank. Our filtration are bioballs in the back of the tank. <... please see WWM re their removal> There is a lid that goes atop the tank with about 3-4 inches of clearance and is open in the back the length of the lid. There is a fabric atop the bioballs that collects particles from the runoff. <Needs to be cleaned at least weekly> We let the tank cycle for almost 2 weeks with cured liverock. <Did it actually cycle?> During this time we've monitored our levels and were given the "ok" by our fish store to get a fish. We introduced a percula clownfish <Needs more room than this> a few days ago. He did well (ate and swam well) until that first night our heater seemed to malfunction and the temperature dropped from 78 to 74. I woke in the middle of the night to check on him and he was frantically swimming back and forth bumping into rocks with his nose almost as if he was disoriented and scared. <Mmm, not from the temp. drop> I assumed it was because he was cold so I turned on the light to try and warm the water up. The next morning he had stopped the crazy swimming and since then has gradually stopped eating and swimming. We got a new heater and have had to adjust it a few times ranging from 82 to 78. It's back at 78 now. I worry the temperature inconsistency started his downward spiral. He's interested in food but will suck it into his mouth and spit it out. <...> He'll come and swim around if we're collecting water from the tank to do testing and he'll occasionally take a lap around the tank but for the most part he just hovers off the bottom and swims just enough to keep from sinking. <What they do> His breathing seems rapid to me and he doesn't ever shut his mouth like he's gasping. <Likely parasitized, and this system not really cycled> He doesn't appear to have any spots or disease on him although I suspect his color may be fading a little. Our levels in our tank are as follows: salinity 1.020. <Too low> I was told by a fish store this was too low and he advised me to add salt right away. (could the change in salinity have caused this?) <Define "this"> I added 1/2 cup and it raised the level between 1.020 and 1.025 approx... <... too much too soon> I read it's best to do it gradually. Do you think this is still too low? <I think you should read> Alkalinity is 300 PH is a little low at 7.8 <... this is way low... the pH scale is a base 10 log...> we were given a white rock substance to place in the tank to slowly raise the ph but it hasn't risen in 2 days thus far. Nitrates are at 20 Ammonia is .25 <Toxic...> Nitrites are 0 We're very careful about washing our hands and rinsing items before they go in the tank. If you can help us figure out what's wrong I'd be grateful, I hate seeing him suffer. Thanks. Kimberly <Kimberly... I do wish someone had sold you a decent book to read, or encouraged you to borrow one from the library, and read it ahead of the gratuitous errors you've made, are making... See the above comments I've made? Investigate them... at least on WWM. Maybe in terms of survey reading, start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Part 2 to original clown question 1/14/08 Hi. I wanted to add to my previous question that we have a orange/brown algae in our tank. Is this a bad algae and could this be making our clown sick? Is it too soon to do a water change since our tank has only been up for a couple of weeks? <... the presence of such algae is indicative of the cycling, and pollution process (see the prev. email re the bioballs, mechanical filter media, cycling...> Also...the store we purchased him from has had him for quite a while (long enough to give him a name) anyway...he is assumed to have come to us healthy. He is the only fish in the tank. Thanks. <Read on my friend, read on. BobF>

Re: False Percula Update... hlth., still not reading 1/14/08 Hi and thanks for your response. There is some good news... I got some garlic drops and my fish is swimming much more than he was and is eating again BUT, I'm noticing 3 pinhead white spots on his sides that are more visible when he's facing me or swimming away from me. They're harder to see direct on. He doesn't appear to have the "velvet look" to him but he's definitely lost color and he's still breathing fast. Do you think it's ich? <Not likely... you should read...> His overall health seems a lot better than the past couple of days after I did a water change and the garlic, but I fear for him and want to get him treated. Do you think copper is best for him or is there something I could put in my tank that wouldn't hurt my liverock? <... reading...> My fish store said I can bring him there to have him quarantined. Would it be too hard on my fish coming from my low PH of 7.8 and going to a fish store's proper PH in the same day? <...> I'd like to clean my tank while he's away and get the conditions better for him. You recommend removing bioballs from my tank....it's a 10 gallon tank (he's the only fish in it) we have about 10+ lbs of liverock. Is that enough liverock to sustain the aquarium? I'd like to start gradually removing the bioballs. Also I noticed a very small white worm in the bottom of the sand/shells, about the thickness of a fingernail and about 1/8th of an inch long. Any idea what this is? Also our diatom algae is slowly going away so I guess our tank wasn't fully cycled. Gosh I have a lot to learn. I'm sure you're shaking your head at me but I really want to save my fish and will do anything to help him. I'd really appreciate your thoughts. Thanks, Kimberly <Don't write... read. Your answers and much more ancillary information are posted... on WWM. RMF>

Clownfish hlth., Actinarian involvement? 12/27/07 Hi guys, I've been a long time reader, but this is my first time asking a question. You people are great and seem extremely qualified at answering my question, so here it goes : I have a 75 gallon reef tank, some anemones, <Yikes... what species?> hermits, lots of live rock from Fiji etc. I have about 6 damsels, and 5 clowns in the tank. My water is excellent, and I am currently raising my salinity very slowly to 1.025 as I read in one of your posts. It is currently at 1.022. Anyways, here's my problem, about 2 months ago, I notices something really odd on 4 out of my 5 clowns. They are spots but aren't white. They look like they are under the skin, almost shining through. Very hard to explain, for instance, on the orange of the fish, the color of the circles/blotches are lighter orange, on the black of the fish, the blotches are a dark gray color, and so on. So, it seemed not to really bother the fish so I left it all on. <Good. Is what I would do as well> Now, about 3 days ago, I noticed one of my clowns stopped eating and more on the spots are appearing, he is staying in one area hovering just above the sand. I am extremely worried the rest of my tank is going to have problems. I have looked all over and I do not know what this could be. Thank you for your time, Angel <Could be a protozoan of some sort... Sporidean likely if so... No real "cure"... but may well subside in appearance with the increased, better spg, good general care. Another possibility is some sort of "dermal" reaction to the anemone/interaction here... You'd do well to read on WWM re their Compatibility. Bob Fenner>

Sick Clown Fish... env. and social 11/22/07 Hi <Hello> We have three Clarki clownfish in our 5ft tank that has been and an extra large bubble tip anemone that they all reside in. The tank has been running for about 5 months now and also contains 1 small Blue Spotted Stingray, <Needs much more room> 2 Green Chromis, 1 Yellow Bellied Damsel, 2 Yellow Tailed Damsels, 1 Long Spiked Urchin, 3 Sea Snails and 4 2-4cm Sea Hares, <Do check the species... some are coldwater...> as well as, various coral species. Recently the largest clown fish has become bloated, does not enter into the anemone, spends most of her time swimming listlessly or hiding in various parts of the tank and yesterday started developing white scaly marks all over her body as well as cloudy eyes with white spots in the in both her eyes. <Yikes> The smallest fish has started to not enter into the anemone but does not show any other symptoms or different behaviour. The third fish is happily residing in the anemone as per usual. <The "winner" here...> Our salt water levels are at the correct level and though the ph level was at 7.5 <Yeeikes!> this has been remedied using KH and ph buffer tablets. <Umm... I would be reading re the mix of compounds in use here... testing for Mg, Ca...> Is there anything else that you can recommend as we have not previously had any other illness in our tank and I am unsure of how to go about fixing this. Thanks for all your help Sheridan <Mmm, not a high-confidence guess here... but likely a combo. of the one Clark's clown driving out its conspecifics and whatever the cause of the low pH and its "fixing" at play here. I urge you to take a long journey reading over the areas of WWM re Maintenance, the Compatibility of all the species you list... Bob Fenner>

Yet another clownfish question... induced env. dis. Hey crew! Well, after searching your fantastic site, I didn't find what I was looking for. Please direct me if you have already posted answers for this: I have a pair of small Ocellaris clownfish in a 10gal AGA <... too small> (I know, I know... small but very beautiful and all I can fit in a college dorm) <... one might ask why you don't live in a/the closet there...> the smaller of the two (Skippy) seems to be sick. <...> It has always swam quite goofy (sideways, backwards, upside-down, etc.) but only to get somewhere he wants to go. Here lately, poor Skippy has lost a lot of color and has sunken in cheeks (sunken in above mouth but below eyes,) eats significantly less than his slightly larger partner Edna and he seems lethargic... he just hovers, occasionally darting here or there. Edna seems life she is very happy. She eats ravenously and has beautiful deep orange coloration. My guess is Skippy has a parasitic infection? but, what kind? and how do I help him? <... this is an environmental problem... the one fish is sub-dominant... stressed... will die...> Water parameters are what your site recommends and are stable. I change 2 gallons weekly with RO and Instant Ocean. I have a two inch Live sand bed, 7.5 lbs Live Fiji Rock with a rapidly growing purple algae colony, four happy hermits, 3 turban snails, 2 Ceriths, and a few mushrooms, Zoanthids, and a green Ricordea that are all doing fine. I use a Whisper 60 (with no Carbon, just floss) for water movement and a small heater that does the trick nicely. I also have 2 x 65watt PC 50/50 lights 5-6 inches above tank... fish don't seem to mind at all. Hope all this info helps with a diagnosis. I am pretty down about this, any help would be much appreciated. matt. <A larger system... set up as nicely as this one... or removing one of the Clowns. Bob Fenner>

Black patches on clownfish pair 9/20/07 Hi - it's a pleasure to rediscover this site. <Welcome back> I have a pair of percula clownfish who have developed black patches during the past year. They show no symptoms of distress. Indeed, for a long time I assumed that this was just a pigment issue (the black areas on the female have gradually expanded over the years). <Some such marks come and go on Amphiprionines> Now, after a plumbing problem two weeks ago, emptying the main tank and housing my four fish in three small tanks during reconstruction, I have been looking more closely. I have searched your site and elsewhere on the web but have found nothing specific. One message mentioned black patches but it was not followed up. Any ideas? <From your pic, these look like random spots of melanization... I don't think they're pathogenic, nor do I know a means of "treating", eliminating them> The clowns are now in an AquaPod (24g) with their two Entacmaea quadricolor anemones (one that cloned) <Yikes... these anemones need much more room than this> and plenty of tiny worms and brittle stars. The old system was a 125g with an ecosystem type sump and about 100 pounds of live rock. Ammonia and nitrates have long been undetectable but nitrates were getting high in that tank. In six years, there was no disease in that tank, which was always underpopulated (five small fish, a couple of soft corals, zoanthids, etc.). Everybody either came with the rock or was quarantined before going in. The critters that were in the tank at the beginning are all still there, nobody has been added but some snails about three years ago. Any ideas? <Could be that the Bubble tips are somehow stressing the Clowns...> And thanks again for your superb efforts. Malcolm <Thank you for your kind words and sharing. Bob Fenner>

Yellow polyps + Percula clown? -- 07/18/07 Hi there! I have a 30g reef. 2 Percula clowns, one skunk cleaner, one small colony of yellow polyps, and one small colony of green star polyps. Recently the smaller of the two perculas has taken residence in the yellow polyps. <Happens> He has developed three black spots, and one of his eyes is a little bit darker then the other. The bigger clown is perfectly fine. Can the polyps be effecting him? <Possibly, yes... and can/could mal-affect the water quality period... Effect all more indirectly> Parameters = Ammonia=0 'trites=0 'trates=0-5 temp=78 salinity=1.025 phos=0 calcium=425-450 <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/polypcompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

TRUE PERC COLORATION SLIGHTLY FADED 5/23/07 Hi gang, <Hello> I have a pair of true percula clowns. . . I believe from the Solomons. Coloration at purchase showed rather wide/generous black areas. . . as well as orange and white. I got the female as an adult four years ago. . . the male two years later. My question involves the noticeable-to-me 'fading' of intensity from the black and orange areas of both fish. Fish are active and healthy. . . their white areas are still vibrant. . . my system is a reef. .. and other saltwater hobbyists usually remark on how vibrant the coloration of all my other fish (yellow tang, purple tank, coral beauty, mandarin, juvenile hippo tang) are. It's a 200 gal. overall volume system. . . lots of soft corals. PH runs 8.0 at night to 8.2 during the day. Temp is around 76 degrees. The clowns host in a very large soft Rasta. . . alone in a 60 gallon tank connected to the overall system. Diet is mostly frozen formula one. . . occasional frozen Mysis. . . along with a direct feed from a refugium that has copepods, amphipods and live Mysis. The clowns hang right in the inflow current, and gladly gobble anything the refugium offers up. I've read about coloration differences on captive bred clowns. . . with the explanation that diet is the factor. Is this coloration difference common-or-inevitable? <Common but not inevitable.> I've tried amping up the variety of their diet to include fresh bloodworms, which they love. . . but haven't noticed any difference in coloration. What are your thoughts?. . . Chuck <Usually something like this is due to either dietary or environmental causes. I would add a little more variety to their diet, and at risk of sounding like a salesman get some New Life Spectrum pellets, I feed that to my clowns and their color has stayed very nice over the 5+ years I've had them. Also an additive such as Selcon may help as well.> <Chris>

Clown Fish Health, Post-Traumatic Water Chem. Issue -- 05/08/07 Please help me WWM Crew, <Yes sir'¦I'm going to try.> After a recently added a Sally Lightfoot Crab To my 29 gal tank with my 2 Amphiprion Ocellaris. <Careful with the crab. Some folks have good experiences'¦.others, like myself, did not. Can become quite predatory.> The wife gave the crab a cooked shrimp while I was at work. <Uh-oh.> She removed it after a while but she missed part of the shrimp that he had ripped off. This lead to a nitrate spike that got to 160ppm. <To say that's bad would be an understatement.> After 2; 5 gal water changes and a dose of Seachem prime. The water level went back down to 20 ppm nitrate 0 nitrites and the gravity is 1.022. <Nitrates till need to come down to about >10 and S.G. needs to come up as well to be acceptable to your inverts'¦but much better than it was before obviously.> ( it has been holding this for 48 hrs) My crab and one of my clown seem to have made it threw the mishap just fine. <Good. Keep up on the water changes and run some carbon as well.> The other clown is losing color and hanging around the filter outlet. <Lingering effects from the toxic state the tank was in.> He is still eating and at times swims like his normal self but most of the time he hangs around. <A good sign that he is eating though. At this point I would just continue to care in a normal manor and offer a variety of foods. Keep the tank aerated well and ensure the water chemistry remains stable (i.e. have a conversation with your wife and do more eater changes.> Also when we 1st got him he a red sore that went away with in two days this sore has since reemerged. <Sounds like environmental induced trauma, follow the advice above for mow. If it makes you feel better you could move him into QT for more detailed attention/care.> I called the LFS and was given the advise that since I got the water under control to just do frequent water changes and watch for any changes. <Am in agreement with the LFS for once.> Thank you for your help. <Anytime my friend.> Rob <Adam J.>

Clownfish Stressed... 4/26/07 Here's what's going on... <Uh-oh, you sound like one of my Training Officers....am I in trouble?> We have two false Percs one seems fine while the other appears to be hiding. <How long have you had them? Mated pair?> It also looks to have a cut above it's lip with a white spot on it, he/she also has what looks like twine hanging off the under side. <Sounds like an abrasion that may be inflamed...I would not worry just yet, maintain pristine water quality and feed a varied diet.> The eyes look a little larger than normal and the lips look to be a lighter shade of orange. <Sounds like am environmental/ water quality issue.> The fish does seem to be eating a little but not like it use to. I had the water tested and everything was in great shape. <That is good but in the future we prefer specifics...we may see something you do not.> What led up to this is we moved the tank and of course drained off the water about 30% and added new water to the tank from a reliable LFS that we always get our water from. I'm not sure if I poured the water in too fast and stirred things up or what but I just want my clown back. <With such a large/recent move I doubt that the nutrient levels are optimal...and I'm sure the ordeal has the little bugger stressed. Can you move him/her to a quarantine in the meantime while he/she recovers?> One other thought is a couple of days before I found this same fish had jumped from the main part of the tank into the filtration part of the back of the tank. We got him out and everything seemed normal though.... Thanks for your help on this.... <Of course, Adam J.> Sick Clown? env. 4/25/06 Hello everyone, I have a 12 gallon fish only tank. It has a crushed coral floor, a b&w damsel, percula clown and a marble blenny. <... too mis-mixed, crowded...> I have checked all my levels so far and they all seem normal with exception of the hydrometer reading 1.026 (I just did a water change this morning to help lower it); <Do check, match old/new before changing out...> ammonia = 0; nitrites = 0; and nitrates = 10. The problem seems to be with my clownfish. He eats very well, I mix up the food between plankton, marine flakes and frozen fish foods. During the day I keep the light on from about 6:30 am to 5pm, at that time he seems to stay at the bottom of the tank almost motionless and sometimes leaning onto his/her side almost burrowing in the sand until there is what looks like a crater around him. Once the light is off, he retorts to the corner of the tank and swims upright near the filter. He seems to repeat this routine daily. <Not atypical> I have had him for about three months now. He did the same action when I first got him but I treated him with quick cure to get rid of ich and he seemed to do great. I have noticed a few "bumps" appear under his skin and he seems to open his mouth rather wide at times. What should I do? Is he sick? Lonely? What should I do? <... you need a larger system... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/part2.htm scroll down to the bottom, read re... Bob Fenner>

Chaotic Clownfish... stung by a Siganid? Crowded for sure 8/17/06 I have a maroon clownfish that has been in my tank for the last two years. He has always been very peaceful and healthy. Yesterday I was cleaning some algae off the glass in the tank and he nearly jumped out. Startled, when I looked back into the tank he was swimming wildly in all directions, upside down, sideways, summersaults... as though he had completely lost control of his body. He was scratching himself up on the live rock and the other fish started to get aggressive towards him because he was swimming so erratically. I quarantined him to a corner of the tank so he wouldn't hurt himself, but over the past day and a half his condition has not improved and he continues to swim sideways, upside down, and in circles. I have tried to feed him but he doesn't even notice the food, and now his color is starting to lighten. The only thing that I can think of is that when I was cleaning the tank the fish became agitated and he was somehow stuck with venom by the Foxface that is also in the tank. <Yikes... this would do it...> (The 40 gallon tank has a fox face, <This tank is too small for a siganid> the maroon clown, a coral beauty, <And/or too small for a regular sized species of Centropyge> a blue damsel fish, and a coral banded shrimp. All the fish are about 3 inches. There have been no new additions to the tank in six months.) Please let me know if you have any ideas on what could be wrong with him or what could be done. Joe Tremblay <Mmm, I like your speculation if the other fishes don't appear affected... If all had spun out, I would guess that something to do with the algae/scrubbing set off a physical/chemical reaction. At any length, you/they need a system at least twice this volume/size. Bob Fenner> Injured clown fish 8/14/06 Good evening WWM Crew , After laying Eggs our clown fish was very aggressive towards her other tank mates and very protective of her " nest ", <Yes, very common> during this she got injured by our hippo tang , he sliced her open , about half of a centimeter long , the cut is between her head and dorsal fin . It looks really nasty and swollen , though she seems not be affected by it. I read a lot of your forums and started to worry about infection setting in , so we went to our local fish store and they gave us some medication for her ( Kanamycin). Now I also remember reading in your pages the danger of med's. So here I am not sure to give it to her , or to wait and see if it heals ok If treatment should I treat her in main tank or move her over to a QTank <I would leave this fish in place for now. Move it if you intend to use the antibiotic> , knowing that the two are inseparable, this could effect both of them , also this is now her third day with the cut , and like I said she seems her normal self other then that . Would love to get some help in this matter , don't want to loose her due to my ignorance . Thank you guys for all your help and your awesome website!!! God Bless , Monika <Welcome. Bob Fenner> Very sick Clown 1/31/06 Hello. I love your site -- very educational and excellent for research. I have had a 90 gal FOWLR set up for two years with very little fish loss. I have a long horned cowfish, a dogface puffer, coral beauty, yellow tang, and a Clark's clown. Parameters: specific gravity 1.025, 0 nitrite/0 ammonia/nitrate 40-60 ppm. Wet/dry w/out bio balls. Can't get nitrate lower. <... there are means> Have tried for over a year. I know I have big eaters here. <Yes... and a dearth of denitrification> Problem today -- I am highly upset because my clown (I have had all of these fish for one to one and half years) has ragged fins, loss of color, swimming on side and upside down near top of tank. <Trouble...> I haven't seen much of him last few days, all of a sudden he appeared this sick. His behavior is extremely out of character. He has never been sick before. I did recently one month ago purchase a new VHO white actinic bulb, leave it on 10-12 hrs per day. Also had an outbreak of brown algae which covered the rocks, clumped in the sand. Did a 25% water change yesterday. The yellow tang has a brown circle spot on its side also, looks like an "o". <Good description... stress marking... you've likely seen something similar if/when turning the lighting on during the night> What medicine is the best course for the clown? <... none. Not a pathogenic disease... but environmental> Please advise whether you think this is bacterial? I would do anything to save this fish. Am setting up quarantine now. Thank you in advance for your compassion and quick response. I have a good aquatic store staff but sometimes get conflicting info. Thanks, M. Lee <The simplest, fastest measure to take would be to move these two fish to another up and going system if you had such. The "real" troubles here are crowding and too-much incompatibility... the Cowfish is variably toxic in confined space... and the nitrate being elevated... What would "solve" the apparent disease issues here are more volume/space, dilution (water changes), chemical filtration (mainly carbon), the addition of erstwhile filtration (including anaerobic digestion... the best? A DSB in a tied-in sump/refugium...). You are faced with the decision, choices here of improving these animals world or translocating some of them to new ones. Bob Fenner> Michelle Re: Very sick Clown 2/2/06 Bob: Thank you so much for your reply. I kind of already had the suspicion that I would have to get rid of the cowfish or the dogface. The clown is improving -- I have had him in quarantine with Nitrofurazone for two days. He does have a patch of detaching skin on top of his head; thought this might be Vibrio? <No, not likely... probably "just" the Clown... reaction> Do you think it OK to move him to my 13 gal Eclipse tank? Excellent parameters and only three small crabs, coral banded shrimp, and a canary wrasse. Problem there may be that the only filtration is the standard carbon filter. Thoughts? Thanks again, M. Lee <Maybe will go... worth trying. Bob Fenner> Michelle Clownfish darkening?! Hi guys <Conor> Thanks in advance for your help. I have 4 small tank raised common clownfish in my tank, with an external Ecco Eheim filter, internal filter, salinity 1.020, nitrite 0, temp 25 degrees. <I'd raise the spg...> I have had the fish only 2 weeks and notice that two of the fish have stopped eating as much and one of them has stopped eating entirely and has taken to staying in the top right hand corner and is opening and closing his mouth constantly. On the top of his body is a darkened area that is new the last 2 days. His darkening is more pronounced than the others - but all of the others have also started to get these shaded areas on the top part of their bodies. <Not good> Is this a disease? How can I treat it? <Is likely an indication of environmental stress... is your tank cycled? Please read through the many articles, FAQs files archived on WWM re Clownfish Systems, Disease...> I would be most grateful if you could help - I'm not sure where to go now! Thanks - Conor, Dublin, Ireland. <I am... WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Re: Clownfish darkening?! Thanks for that. My tank is cycled - I had it running for a month before introducing any fish. <Still... may not be cycled> I was worried that the symptoms (the darkening on the upper part of the body) might be a sign of velvet disease? <Doubtful> The tank is fish only - no live rock and I can't see what would be stressing the fish out. They were all very active and hungry at the beginning and I have not yet done any water changes. I was going to do my first water change on Friday. My LFS can sell me a medicine for velvet which I was thinking of adding as a precautionary measure - any views? <Please read... WWM, our books, articles re...> Lastly - the fish are juveniles - if they are maturing into male/female sexes would this explain the darkening and loss of appetite? <No> Thanks again! <Keep reading... Bob Fenner>

Clownfish (environmental) disease question I have had my clown fish for about 5 years. I am not sure what type of clown fish he is - see attachment. <Premnas biaculeatus, a Maroon> This week he has developed a white spot under his eye and possibly discoloration on his top fin. <Yes, I see these. Good photo> You will also note that I am getting some burgundy slime/algae growing on the rocks. <Yes, a type of Blue Green Algae, aka Cyanobacteria> I have wrapped my 12 gallon saltwater tank in a towel to kill the slime/algae and have done syphoning and water changes. The slime goes away for a couple of days and comes right back. This may or may not have something to do with my fish. <Likely has to some good degree. What is important to understand, work against, is the root causes of the favoring of conditions that are allowing the profusion of BGA here> I have a snail, a sea urchin, and some multiple legged creatures that live in the rocks (starfish with long stripped legs??). Can you shed any light on my problem? Thank you in advance. <Yes... your Clowns principal, basal health issue VERY likely stems from poor water quality... your system has "aged" in ways that favor the Cyano... you would do well to change out, add some new live rock, possibly a good part of the substrate, make some large (25%) successive daily water changes... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marenvdi.htm and the Related Articles and FAQs (linked, in blue at the tops of these links) where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish with extra ventilation on his sides Hi, Bob. I originally sent this info to the Ask the Crew email address, but I'm a bit worried and haven't heard back. I'd really appreciate your help. Original email is below, but here's a synopsis: Got a gold striped maroon clown Saturday. He ate at the store but did not eat in my tank. <this is normally the case with all fish> Tuesday evening when I got home I noticed a pit on each of his sides - maybe a quarter inch wide - smaller than the width of his middle stripe. Tests showed elevated pH, ammonia, and nitrates as described below. Did a <10% (2.5 gallons on a 30 gallon tank) water change to help stabilize.<good job> Did another Wednesday evening (2 gallons) since nitrates were still high. (My bucket is 2.5 gallons - thus the weird amount). Water otherwise looks okay.<ok keep on testing for nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia> Fed him live brine shrimp yesterday (Wednesday) night and he ate - perhaps not voraciously, but he ate. <this food has absolutely no nutritional value, instead try Mysis shrimp>(He spat some out but ate some and took his time doing so.) Tried feeding him a little more this morning and he didn't touch any of them. He's been staying at the bottom of the tank mostly in a little archway and sort of struggled up to the rock last night. (normal sleeping behavior without a host?)<sometimes, clownfish do not need anemones> His wounds look maybe slightly bigger but I'm not sure. I didn't get a good look at them yesterday. Definitely slightly bigger than Tuesday when I first saw them, but not by much. Should I medicate him or just wait and see? Can I medicate him in the tank?<no don't medicate him in your main aquarium, you need to move him to a quarantine aquarium and treat him for a bacterial infection, IanB> (More details below) Thank you. Tiffany Thompson I've been scouring the web for the past 5 hours trying to make sure I know what's wrong with my fish before I treat it. My tank's been in storage for 3 years and I've pulled it out of retirement, cycled it with live rock, added a clean up crew (2 brittle stars and a handful of snails and hermit crabs), let it stabilize after that, and then last Saturday decided it was ready for a fish. The tank is a 30 gallon wannabe reef tank, with nothin in it but the above and a 1/2 inch unidentified anemone that came in on a rock.<probably an Aiptasia or glass anemone, both can be harmful to fish and inverts> I added a gold striped maroon clown Saturday evening. I saw him (okay he's probably a she, but I'm gonna call him a he cuz I want to) eat a couple flakes of food at the fish store (tho he spat out the red flakes, I'm pretty sure I saw him eat some green). he hasn't really eaten anything else. He hides most of the time, but comes to the front some which I thought might mean he's hungry but he still doesn't eat the flakes I have. He has pecked at food pellets I've dropped in the tank (they're sinking pellets that my previous clown used to like - he'd steal them from my shrimp) but doesn't touch them after they hit bottom. (It's Tuesday night now.) But more importantly, now he has wounds on either side of his body. Small pits (one on each side) in the middle of his middle stripe. Each pit is almost but not quite the width of the stripe. his breathing seems a little fast but his color is good. The only thing that looks out of the ordinary are the pits on his sides...which is of course my biggest concern. (Photos attached - not the best)<ok, it sounds like a bacterial infection, maybe due to poor water quality> I tested the water immediately and low and behold it was ATROCIOUS! The pH and ammonia were too high:<this is most likely the contributing factor> My pH kit only tests up to 8.4, but I could tell it must have been higher.<pretty bad> Ammonia was high (without an accurate pH I can't be sure of the level but it was at least .07ppm) <WOW, this can be deadly> Nitrite levels were nearly non-detectable. Nitrate levels were about 20ppm.<this isn't bad, but the ammonia is definitely bad, you need to remove every living creature and find a stable home for them until your aquarium cycles, if you don't there is a very good chance that all livestock will perish in a short period of time> So I've done a 10% water change and now I'm at about pH 8.2, Ammonia .028ppm, Nitrate:10ppm<ok...any readable ammonia is BAD> I ran out and got some medications but want to make sure I have a proper diagnosis before I move forward - especially if water changes end up being the recommended course of action in and of themselves. I bought some "Biozyme" ("dried heterotrophic bacteria and enzymes) that I thought might help with the tank quality. (I also have Amquel plus). As far as medicating the fish goes, I have Metronidazole and Kanamycin sulfate based medications. The fella at the store recommended the Metronidazole, but after reading FAQs it sounds to me like the Kanamycin might be right? <yea that is what I would use, if I was in this situation...but do not treat in the main aquarium....IT WILL ONLY ESCALATE YOUR PROBLEMS> Since he's the only fish in there can I medicate the tank (I have carbon in there now which I know I need to take out before adding medications) or should I come up with a makeshift hospital tank (I have a 2.5 gallon bucket I can use), or...?<NO NO and NO!> Can you also recommend a good pH test kit Wardley "Master" at the moment. I also have nothing to test alkalinity, calcium or phosphate levels.<I would use the test kit brands made by RedSea, good luck, IanB>

Sick Clown I have a cinnamon clownfish that I have had for about 4 months. He is very active and aggressive, and eats when fed. However, he has many small marks all over both sides of his body that look like missing scales. Also, his underfins look a little ragged. What is the problem? What can I do? He is with a yellow tang. << Assuredly something is wrong with your water quality and/or your nutrition of this fish... What you describe is sometimes labeled in various ways as "environmental disease"... I would check your water and systems regarding its optimization... and strive to include some fresh foods in the clown and other fishes diets... Bob Fenner>>

Nitrate and Clownfish Hello again! I hope this finds you all well. <Scott F. back with you again> I spent the day researching again, and decided on some "field work" to boot. I searched one of the LFS's that we like to use on occasion for more opinions (on your ideas) and for some comparison for my poor clown. I'm afraid I made a poor impression, but all is well that ends well, right? I told him of your suggestion for removing the bioballs upon addition (or a week or so after) of the DSB.....this had him pondering back and forth and finally he decided that he agreed with you, though he could not understand why it could not be a two inch sand bed, which I just had to let go, as I could not explain it to his satisfaction. That taken care of, I spotted several tanks of tank raised tomatoes and ocellaris that had some of the same markings on their white patches, which is what ours looked like at the start; I asked him what he could make of it, and I honestly believe that he had no idea, taking my "bait" with the marks having to do with the high nitrate levels....he was adamant that my clown's situation is indeed due to the high nitrates. I read every piece of Brooklynella information on WWM pages, and concluded that he is showing none of the symptoms for it. Still a mystery to me, any ideas besides Brooklynella? Daniel thinks that it could be Hole-in-the-head/HLLD...what do you think? <It's a distant possibility- this malady generally causes markings and/or pits in the skin due to skin loss; usually found near the no surprise here-head or lateral line area on the fish. It is rarely fatal, it just looks bad. All kinds of "remedies" exist for this malady, ranging from the addition of vitamins in the fishes' foods, to daily water changes, to grounding the tank from stray voltage, etc. This might even be "normal" coloration for this strain of captive-bred clowns?> I am very concerned even though he is still eating well, and behaving as usual. <Just keep a close eye on these fish and follow good maintenance practices. Be prepared to act decisively should the need arise> The nitrates as of this afternoon are just under 20ppm by the way.) <definitely a positive trend. Good job!> I also asked him about the Caulerpa (which is all they sell) and if/when they might have other plant life available for us.....I'm afraid he thinks I'm crazy now, and we will more than likely not be using this store for any further saltwater related items. <Well, now you've crossed over that threshold into the realm of "fish nerd"-just like me, and there is no known no cure for that! :)> Our next research will be in the refugium section of WWM for better options. What *would* we do without you guys?! <Buy lots of Caulerpa, maybe? LOL> Thanks again immensely for your time, opinions and educated guesses. Kelly and Daniel <You're welcome. Feel free to contact us any time!>

Clowning Around With Macroalgae Greetings, <Hi there! Scott F. with you> A few months ago, I moved from a 15 gallon to a 33 gallon tank (with the 15 gallon as a sump). My clarkii clown, which is about a year old, recently started swimming at the surface, and can not seem to dive any lower in the tank. Physically he is showing no other signs of disease. This does seem to be preventing him from eating though. There is obviously something wrong with him, but I don't know how to treat it. Could it be a problem with the swim bladder? <This is a distinct possibility. At this point, I'd keep a close eye on him. Look for the appearance of other symptoms-labored breathing, obvious skin blemishes, excess mucus, etc. If any of these are evident, remove him immediately for possible treatment for a number of possible parasitic infections. Another "way out there" possibility, but one that has actually been documented by clownfish breeders, is "floating bloat". Apparently, this disorder is brought on by the clowns eating buoyant floating foods, like pellets. A long shot, for sure- but don't rule anything out. Check his diet out and see if you're feeding lots of dried foods...> I have live sand and rock in the tank, and a pretty low bioload. The nitrates are about 20 - 30 ppm (higher than I want, but shouldn't be hurting the clown). Any suggestions? I really don't want to lose this guy? <Well- I don't think that nitrate is causing this possibly malady. However, you may want to consider a deeper (3-4 inches plus) fine sand bed, chemical filtration media (carbon, Poly Filters), aggressive protein skimming, frequent (twice weekly) small (like 5% of tank volume) water changes, use of high quality source water (RO/DI), and just general good husbandry procedures.> Another question. I have a bunch of Caulerpa growing in the sump, but I am not sure I am doing it correctly. <BTW- another good idea for nutrient export> I have two 15w strip lights over it. Is that enough? <That should be fine> The Caulerpa is just floating in the water, but is starting to sprout roots. Should it be anchored in the substrate? <Caulerpa will put down "holdfasts" into substrate, rocks, etc. It can float, too-but will usually seek a surface to adhere against> How do I know when to trim it? How dense should it be? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Paul <Well, Paul- Caulerpa can be amazingly prolific once it gets going. You'll see it begin to "mass" into large aggregations- that's a sign that it's time to start harvesting. The best thing to do is to carefully pull fronds away from the main "mass" of Caulerpa on a regular basis (like weekly), taking care not to rip them, as they may leach undesirable substances into the water. For a lot of reasons, I'm not a big fan of Caulerpa. I think that you could do much better with other "purposeful" macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha ("spaghetti" macroalgae) or Gracilaria ("Ogo")- my two favorite macros, and even Halimeda. They have many of the benefits of Caulerpa (rapid growth, high nutrient uptake) without the potential downfalls (leaching of undesirable substances, difficulty in eradication, etc). Give one of these other macroalgae a try...The Anthony Calfo slogan "Friends don't let friends buy Caulerpa" is my mantra, man! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> Clowning Around With Macroalgae (Pt2) Scott, <At your service> Thanks for the reply. I have since added PolyFilters and carbon, and changed about 12 gallons of water, but the clown has gotten worse. <Sorry to hear that> He is now no longer on the surface, but still having trouble swimming. He seems to go aimlessly around in circles and bump into everything in the tank. Yesterday, he also became "curled" to one side. His eyes are sort of bulgy, but I cant recall if that is the way they always were. Since he is bumping into things and not able to get food, I have been wondering if he is having trouble seeing. No noticeable skin conditions. I do have about 3-4" sand and a skimmer (a Berlin air-lift) in the sump. Is that enough? <That sounds okay> Is there any medication that I could try? I could put the clown in a small quarantine tank while doing so. If not, I don't think that he is going to make it much longer... <Okay, Paul- it's time for some action! Because you indicated that the fish's eyes are bulging, I'm going to make the assumption that we're dealing with a bacterial infection of some sort. I'd place the fish into a separate aquarium for treatment with a broad-spectrum antibiotic, such as Maracyn. Follow the manufacturer's instructions exactly. I think that with quick action, you can save the life of this little guy. Hope this helps!> Thanks for the info on the Caulerpa. It has been the only macroalgae that I have been able to find in any of the stores around here. I'll start hunting for something else. Thanks, Paul <Yeah- Caulerpa is probably the most readily available macroalgae, but it's "dark side" makes it a lousy bargain, IMO! Do look into those other macros-you'll really like them! Good luck...Contact us again if the need arises! Regards, Scott F>

Sick A. percula >Dear Bob, >>Marina here to help you today. >I recently purchased two new clowns that are being kept in my 7 gal. nano. It has been cycling for almost two weeks after being set up with live sand and rock. The morning after acclimating and introducing them to the tank, I noticed two bumps on the smaller of the two, one on either side of the dorsal fin. In just one more day the bumps became more rash-like and has begun a growing patch that looks very irritated and discolored. I did a lot of research and took all the precautions. >>You haven't mentioned whether or not the nano has actually completed cycling, nor have you mentioned use of quarantine. Quarantine must be utilized religiously, and 30 days minimum is q/t protocol. I will also offer that, in my own humble opinion, 7 gallons is far too little to house an Amphiprion species with which I am familiar. I fear that they may have already polluted the tank and succumbed to what may possibly be a bacterial infection. >I have a feeling this clown might have come a little damaged and didn't show until it hit my tank. Maybe stress related. What does this rash sound like and what can I do? Thanks, I really enjoy studying the info. on this sight. Stephen >>I strongly recommend setting up a hospital/quarantine tank and removing *both* fish to it ASAP. Then, just to be safe, I would also recommend starting a regimen of Spectrogram, if you can't find that then Melafix would be next. The description given is "spotty", at best, so I can't venture a further guess as to whether or not they display signs of the ubiquitous ich protozoan, but to be safe I would give each fish a freshwater dip to be safe. The water used for the dip must be of the same temperature AND pH to avoid shocking the animals. I will link you, as well, to some information on diseases on site, and would like you to seek the advice of one brandon429 to be found on http://www.reefs.org I'm not sure if you'll have to register to send this person a private message or not, but he IS THE nano guy extraordinaire. >>This is actually a link via which other helpful links are to be found http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm >>Unfortunately, because of the nature and wide variety of diseases to be found amongst our specimens, I cannot offer more definitive advice at this point. Good luck, though, and do keep us posted. Marina

Perc Clown Death - Disease identification Hi Robert, Our 2 perc clowns died on the weekend. I have looked through the clown FAQ and have been unable to get a clear diagnosis on what caused their deaths. We have had the 2 clownies happily living in a Magnifica for about 6 months. About 3 weeks ago the Magnifica started to lose its colour and began to shrink. <Oh oh... loss of the Anemone is likely tied to your Clownfish loss... either directly or serially... something "wrong" with water quality contributing to the anemone loss, and/or the anemone dying causing declining water quality, loss of the clowns> At about the same time the clownies stopped going into the anemone and started trying to go into other corals. They then started to get a light white furry look on their skin and it also looked wrinkly. All other aspects of their behaviour remained normal (eating & moving). Then the white stripes began to peel off. About 48 hours after this the male was dead. 12 hours later the female was dead. She was eating fine the night before she died. I missed a water change last month and the Nitrate got up to 60, however all other water parameters were good. All the other fish are fine. What could have caused this. <(!, sixty ppm?)... "Poor water quality"... need to make more frequent water changes, look into what is allowing your nitrates to be this high. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm, the links, on to the sections on water changing, water quality, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm re what disease is... Bob Fenner> Regards, Michael.

Re: Brooklynellosis? Mr. Fenner, Thanx again for your quick response! My next question is: Could the stress of what this fish has been thru be causing these periodic spots on him & him alone. <Yes> The other fish don't get them. Diagnosing these "spots" is very tough if you've never seen them before. I will take your advice & leave him be for the weekend. If the spots are ich & not Brooklynellosis, & the other fish are very, very healthy, am I running a risk of infecting them all by being gone for 3 days? <Some risk yes. I hasten to add there are no "no risk" propositions in this life. Bob Fenner> Thanx Craig

Clownfish & Goniopora Doing Poorly Hello Robert, <You reached Steven Pro working his shift today. Anthony Calfo and I are filling in for Bob for the time being.> Whenever I have a problem that I cannot figure out I know who to ask, you're the man. My female clown has been sick on/off for about a year, mostly off, but when she does get sick it's always the same physical signs. Common features include split tail, discolored spots around body, white mucus around gills. Not all signs appear at the same time, but one or two together are common. I have researched your website, and have found the best thing to do is to wait to see how she reacts and wait, so that's what I do, but how long can she go through bouts of sickness and remain alive in my tank. Also, she is paired with a male and they both share a home together (long tentacle anemone) and I have never noticed the male with any signs of disease, nor the 6 other fish in my reef tank. What does she have? What should I do? <This sounds more like an environmental factor or some reaction to aggression, than an infectious disease. I would look for changes in water quality that correspond with the symptoms showing up.> Last question. My two flower pot corals have both been closed, sometimes showing signs of opening, but they never open to their full capability that they showed the first month or two when introduced in my tank. I have moved them away from the light, but their isn't much room in my 40 gallon. What do you suggest? <I have no suggestion for you. Your corals will be dead shortly. Goniopora are one of the most commonly imported corals into America and they almost always die, 99% mortality in less than one year. They live long enough for the hobbyists' to falsely believe they are doing OK before they taper off. I do not mean to seem so callous, but it is a commonly known fact with this coral. One suggestion I have for you is to go get and read Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals". This should help educate you for your future purchases. -Steven Pro> Thanks again, Jason

Aggression as the Cause of Mysterious Ailments Thanks for the coral advice, I figured something was up. I think the aggression might be the cause of the Clowns physical behavior, whenever I move anything in the tank or the anemone moves to a new spot she gets sick. <Also, do make your hands are clean and free from soap, hand creams, after shave, etc.> Thanks for figuring it out. You guys are good. I need to get some got reference books to learn more. Jason

Question About Clownfish That I was told you may can help Hey I recently posted a message n someone replied n said you probably can help. I have a 46 gallon saltwater tank with 4 fish a few corals & one anemone .....the problem is the clownfish recently caught something, its eyes have a cloudy covering n they look swelled, it also has a cloudy spot on his chest n fin...I use Instant Ocean salt n have a Emperor 400 for filtration.....what should I do? Thanks allot for any info. I have a product I used on my yellow tang its called "CopperSafe" <Please take a read through the marine fish disease sections of our principal site: www.WetWebMedia.com You may find it worthwhile to also read the Clownfish Disease FAQs files, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clndisfaqs.htm and beyond. You should try to gain an understanding of underlying principles. The information offered above is only a beginning. Bob Fenner>

Tomato Clown Won't Eat Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo, here my friend> This is my first question for you. I have had several questions since finding your site in December (after a disastrous Marine Ich infestation) but the existing info already on WWM has been a great source. <agreed and thank you> Since the Ich, I have obtained a quarantine tank. I am now restocking the main tank after a considerable fallow period as per your guidelines. The first occupant of the QT was a Tomato clown. He hung out in this 10 gallon tank for over two weeks, eating and generally happy. Upon moving him to the MT, he continues to be active (actually more so, swimming with nose to glass up and down for long periods) and now has not been eating since the move on Friday. <drop in average water temperature compared to QT?> He had been accepting frozen brine shrimp as well as most of the dry food, especially the Omega One flakes. <great dry food...reduce the brine to very little... a very hollow food> Now, no appetite it seems. He'll take the food in andthen spit it out - repeatedly. Seen SW and FW fish do this before and thought that they didn't like the food or were sick. <not necessarily... try a 2-3F increase in temperature up to 84F at most> Particularly concerned in this case because he had been happily eating the brine shrimp and flake when back in the QT. <can go for a while without foods...no worries yet> Last night I tried Selcon on some flake, <smart...a good habit in the future> same result, sampled but did not ingest. At what point does one become concerned? <no rule... but up to a week no big deal> The water in the QT started as MT water. Both are fine. I have an idea that maybe I should try to return him to the QT, but catching is near impossible and stressful. <disagree...too stressful without knowing the cause> Any advice you may have would be appreciated. Thanks for the website and endless amounts of info. Regards, Bill <best regards, Anthony>

Dark Spots on Clownfish hello I have a question on my perc clown fish. I have had him for 3 years and now he is getting black spots on him. his nose looks a little red also, I am very worried. I haven't any other fish in the past year except for 6 peppermint shrimp. my alkalinity is 10 .no ammonia or anything else in the water. I have heard a little about black spot disease in yellow tangs but I don't have any in my tank. I am very worried, can you help me? <What units on that alkalinity? Not meq/l I trust? Do you add so-called supplements to this system? Don't think this is an infectious or parasitic disease... and definitely not a flatworm like "black spot" of tangs (Paravortex sp.). The latter you can read about on the www.wetwebmedia.com site (and see pix there too)... This organism would have to "come in" most likely on a Zebrasoma... and Clowns are very unlikely possible hosts... So "what is it"? Likely nervous expression (melanism) resultant from "environmental stress"... cumulative chemical/physical challenges, perhaps nutritional deficiencies... I would do the standard testing of your water for what you can, add some live rock, supplement/alter the foodstuffs you generally offer... And take heart in realizing that Clownfishes do "get spots" sort of like "age spots" in humans with age... Bob Fenner>

Clownfish Hi Mr. Fenner, Hope you can answer a question for me. <I will try> I have a 3.5" Clarkii clown that I have had as a pair for a year. One of them is getting red spots on the tail base. They almost appear like small soars. He hasn't eaten much for the past 3 weeks and has stayed in his anemone day and night. He doesn't seam to be getting thinner but the outbreak of spots are get more numerous. Any idea what he has or how to get rid of it? <This does sound more like a nutritional and/or water quality ("environmentally mediated") disorder rather than infectious, parasitic... and yes to suggesting viable means for "curing". Do look into the product "Selcon" (or the root material Selcon), a vitamin prep. to augment this fish's diet... soak whatever it is eating (and augment this with some live, frozen/defrosted Mysid, caprellids, or just brine shrimp and offer this once, twice a day near the anemone host... And do check out your water quality, at least do the carte blanche tune-up of a couple (one a week for now) 20-25% water changes (gravel vacuuming the old to waste) and place a unit of activated carbon in your filter flow path (like a bag of Chemipure or equivalent). Both these should produce noticeable changes in the fish's behavior though it will likely take weeks to a couple of months to see the end of the red marks> Thank you, Ray Scheid P.S. Thanks for writing such a great book (the Conscientious Marine Aquarist) I am a 8th grade science teacher. My students and I use it as our "bible" to answer all of our questions. Any new books in your future? <Ah, thank you for this... very gratifying to understand one's efforts being utilized, appreciated. Yes, another in print, and a few others held up in the printing, sales, distribution phase. Please have your students avail themselves of bits of all posted on my website: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Is my Clown Fish sick? Hi, maybe you can help me out. My wife got an aquarium and in it she has two damsel fish and a start fish. For our anniversary she got me a clown fish, so I could be a part of her aquarium. We have had the clown for around 8 months now, and suddenly it has been laying on its side in the sand, and hiding under the live rock. We are hoping it is not sick. The SG is 1.017 and the temp is around 80F, and the two damsels seem fine. We read someplace that the males become females and that they lay their eggs at the base of their habitat and are hoping that is maybe what is going on, do you have any ideas? <Laying on the side... is a bad thing... If this were my fish, my system I would slowly raise the specific gravity back to near seawater level (1.025), like a thousandth of a point change per day... and hope this can effect a "cure"... Clownfishes, living in close proximity with anemones are susceptible to the same sorts of inputs/outputs as their hosts... and vastly prefer NSW conditions... Otherwise, I would try changing this fish's diet, adding a liquid vitamin prep. as a soak in its food (like Selcon, Zoecon, Microvit...). It is not laying eggs. Please read through the "Clownfish Health FAQs" pages on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com and the links in turn on "The Breeder's Registry" about their husbandry. Bob Fenner>

Re: Is my Clown Fish sick? Unfortunately, he is dead. He had been doing this for several days so we were not too surprised. <<Sorry to read of your loss>> Robert Fenner writes: ><Laying on the side... is a bad thing... If this were my fish, my system I would slowly raise the specific gravity back to near seawater level (1.025), like a thousandth of a point change per day... and hope this can effect a "cure"... We did not know that 1.025 was the level we should be shooting for... The LFS said anywhere between 1.017 and 1.028 was fine. <This is way too wide... please do check with more than one source of information (even from/with me...)> The fish store was in China town and we have since concluded that they don't know much about fish and that most of their fish are sick when we buy them. <<Seek out, cast your vote with more conscientious dealers...>> >Clownfishes, living in close proximity with anemones are susceptible to the same sorts of inputs/outputs as their hosts... and vastly prefer NSW conditions... Otherwise, I would try changing this fish's diet, adding a liquid vitamin prep. as a soak in its food (like Selcon, Zoecon, Microvit...). It is not laying eggs. Please read through the "Clownfish Health FAQs" pages on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com and the links in turn on "The Breeder's Registry" about their husbandry. Bob Fenner> Ok, thanks! Maybe we will try again and do better. <A good attitude> John Van Boxtel San Francisco <My gosh! There are several fine stores in San Fran... do check out Nippon Goldfish, say hello to Steve there for me, and ask them in turn for referral to stores nearer you. Yes, they are that excellent. Bob Fenner>

Maroon Clown with Disease Greetings WWM team, <cheers!> Hope this email finds you all doing well... <and you as well my friend> I have greatly enjoyed and learned from this awesome website, and firstly would like to say THANKS... <Thanks to you as well. Do help our cause and tell a friend about us> I am fairly new to marine aquariums (1 yr) and keep a 120 gal, with 200 lbs LR, 210 lbs LS, and mainly soft corals... <a very nice start!> The only fish in the tank are a pair of yellow striped maroons. This morning I noticed some whitish specks (and maybe slimy spot??) on the female. <if the fish is not new, it is very unusual... such parasitic infection evidenced in your photo are usually stress and temperature induced. Common after a power outage of heater malfunction (or inappropriately variable temp in home tank... 3+ F temp swing by day)... but more often this is seen in new fishes on import. It is critical that all clowns be quarantined to avoid or address this common disease> I must have been lucky thus far because I have never had to deal with any problems like this before... I have attached a photo and would greatly appreciate an identification of this problem so I can correctly treat it... <parasitic/protozoan in nature... could be Oodinium or Brooklynella easily. Please do browse our FAQs and articles on the treatment of this disease. The crash course, however, is daily freshwater dips, formalin (necessary if Brooklynella) in long baths in QT and a minimum of 2 week isolation (4 weeks best). Medicated food and low salinity (1.017 gradually) may also be helpful in QT> Thanks again for all the great educational information...Jarrett W. Cravey <best regards, Anthony>

Sick Clown Hi guys, I added this Premnas biaculeatus two weeks ago, It was doing fine but stopped eating a few days ago and has developed a white spot on her chin. If I can net her, what should I dip her in and for how long? I do have a quarantine tank set up in the garage, I'm sure the there are parameter differences and I don't want to stress her anymore, I don't seem to have much luck once a fish gets sick. Please help ASAP! Thanks. Jim Schaefer <Hi Jim, This is either a fungus or bacteria, almost always from environmental issues. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/infectio.htm and optimize conditions for best results. You may need to QT but read this link first. There is much more to be found by typing "fungus" and "bacteria" into the google search engine at the bottom of WetWebMedia.com. Go from there. Do realize, it is environmental or secondary to environment and the best treatment is better water, food, less stress, better overall conditions. Good luck! Craig>

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