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FAQs about the Diseases of Clownfishes 1

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

Related Articles: Clownfish Disease, Clownfishes, Maroon Clowns, Marine DiseaseBrooklynellosisSurviving Brooklynellosis by Mike Maddox,

A velvet-covered infested Premnas biaculeatus, Maroon Clown.

Clownfish worries  9/8/05 Good afternoon, <Morning here presently> I wanted to thank you all for putting together such a great and informative site! I've been searching your FAQ's and related information and still can't seem to locate an answer to my particular problem. <Okay> I have a 90 gallon Oceanic Reef Ready Tank, 200lbs live rock, 160lbs reef sand (40lbs was live and used to seed my sand bed), 520 watts of PC lighting (260w 12K/ 260w Actinic), Remora Protein Skimmer, Canister Filter (using Purigen), Sump (20gallon, Macro alga's, snails, pods etc.) and 4 power heads on a wave timer. My system has been up and running correctly for about 3 months. Water Parameters have been very stable Temp-80, Alk 5 meq/L, PH 8.1, SG 1.024, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 2.   My Tank is full of various snails, worms, hermit crabs, shrimp and pods. I also have a Scooter Blenny, Rock Anemone and small colony of Candy Cane Coral. All life is healthy and thriving........ my concern is with my clown fish. 3 weeks ago I purchased 2 tank raised false Percs from a reputable dealer (That Fish Place) <Good folks, business> driving there 2 hours to bring them home to reduce stress as much as possible. I didn't quarantine them since they were tank bred and raised and my fish stock is so low at the moment. I picked out a small and medium sized fish in hopes of getting them to pair up. Both were very active and had no signs of disease or physical problems. The little one was more vividly colored from the beginning. I could never get the larger one to eat in any volume. I tried all kinds of foods ( including what they used and recommended at the Fish Store) and he/she would only eat small amounts while the other clown gorged himself on anything I offered. After a week of not eating properly or at all and the larger clown fish died. With the exception of weight all else seemed normal. Any clue's? <Happens... may be that the more bright one is influencing the others behavior... it...> 5 days ago I purchased another small (< 1") tank bred False Percula and placed him in the tank after acclimation. Now the original fish has grown to about 1.5 inches and has been readily feeding and very active since his purchase. They are both very friendly with each other and seem to be getting along great. My concern is now with my larger (original small) clown. Yesterday I noticed what seemed to be an almost overnight change in his/her appearance in the facial region.....(larger mouth, lips and different look to his head). If he is changing sexes would this type of change occur? <Is, does> Color is still vivid, nice weight with no signs of disease or parasites etc. Also he has not eaten since yesterday, his mouth opens when he breaths but his breathing is not rapid (normal?) <Likely> and he seems lethargic. Has been laying on the bottom of the sand bed where he usually rests but is not greeting me or swimming in the current like his normal self. He is acting almost like the first clown I had that passed away and I'm not sure what to do or look for if anything. Seeking advice and any help you can give me!! Thanks so much, Mike Motze <Likely "normal" behavior... I take it you've read through the "Clownfish" article/FAQs on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/part2.htm at the bottom. Bob Fenner>
Re: Clownfish worries  9/9/05 Thanks Bob, I have been reading all the information I can find on your site for the past 2 days on disease and clownfish. My clown still has me worried! He seemed somewhat interested in food last night but still wouldn't feed. <The loss of its mate, takes a while to adjust...> Laying around, no jump in his fins. Reading through your facts I found mention of an internal parasite and the question was asked about a clear stringy poop. I can't find that FAQ again, but I did notice this type of poop right before the lethargy started. I also clicked a few pics I'm sending along. <Mmm, the mouth of this fish is deformed... not likely a problem other than appearance... genetic> The mouth differences are visible (almost like large dimples). Color is still great and my tests on water parameters done last night are all good as well. Temp 80, Alk 5.5meq/L , PH 8.2, SG 1.024, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 2. Could this possibly be a parasite? <Not likely. More a stress reaction... akin to pimples in humans> And how would you recommend I go about treating this? My other clown and blenny are fine. All inverts are happy. Thanks again, Mike <I would not "treat" this fish, system... This fish does have an apparent genetic deformity with its mouth... Bob Fenner>

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>

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>

Clown deaths? Dear Sir, Thank you kindly for the prompt and helpful e-mail you guys sent back to me regarding my clean up crew. They all seem settled in nicely. <wonderful to hear> Before I start with my new questions here's my tank setup. 72 gallon bow-front, 90lbs liverock, protein skimmer, wet dry sump, two Hagen powerheads an 402 and a 802. Water conditions are all in line ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5-10 Alkalinity 14 ph 8.4 and calcium at around 400ppm. <overall very good but do consider extra water movement in a tank this size to help prevent detritus from accumulating...sounds weak> Now for the next problems. I received shipment of two tank raised Ocellaris Clowns and a Sebae anemone last Tuesday. (after reading your info on the Sebae I wish I had stayed away from that fellow).  <alas...too common of a problem> I acclimatized the fish and anemone and dropped them in (the anemone I placed on the substrate). I noticed right away that one of the two clowns didn't look so good. They both swam well together but one of them looked as if his fins were slightly worn and there was possibly tiny white blemishes on his sides. Well the next morning I found the little fellow dead and sucked up the powerhead. The other one looked fairly stressed and would no longer come to the front of the tank when anyone was stood there. He also didn't seemed to eat anything although he still spent all of his time in the powerhead stream snapping at any bits that were blown by. This morning I found him dead and sucked up the 402 powerhead. I was wondering if you could give me any hints as to what went wrong. These were my first two fish in the new aquarium so I don't want to rush out and have others shipped to me until I can figure out the problem. As for the anemone it has settled down in the substrate and seems to be doing ok. <hmmm... tough to diagnose without seeing symptoms... but clowns commonly ship poorly and are only hardy (very) once established. External parasites and other skin conditions are quite common with them. The first problem, my friend, was that you didn't quarantine them. New fish should never be added directly to a display tank because if they express disease symptoms they cannot be caught or medicated easily. Do set up and use a QT tank. Secondly, you are braver than I am to buy fish sight unseen. With your remote residence, you really must have a hospital tank set up> Thank you for your help in advance. Your website has been very helpful to especially since I live in the mountains in Colorado - the closest saltwater fish store is three hours drive. Cheers, Simon. <kindly, Anthony>

Re: Ich, Quarantine Tanks/sick clown Bob, Unfortunately the one damsel that I have in my quarantine tank died last night. He had spent the last 2 days at the surface breathing rapidly and not eating, and of course was peppered with small white dots. I'm assuming his infection was beyond the scope of being cured in time with the CopperSafe that I'm using. Should I have dipped him 4 days ago before putting him in the hospital tank? <Hard to say, assess, but it is not likely this would have helped...> This morning, the smaller of the two clowns was covered with small white spots, and the larger had about 2 dozen on each side. Both ate ok and seemed fine. The smaller clown that was more infected to begin with also had a small (1/8" diameter) black spot on it's side towards the back of the body. Over the last 2 days the spot has seemed to grow, and now looks like a scab that is about to fall off. It actually projects beyond the body at least a millimeter! What could this be, and should I be treating with something other than CopperSafe? I am guessing this is some type of secondary infection. <Its own body reaction as well...> I am feeding the fish in quarantine a small amount of flake food once a day, and planned on every other feeding soaking the food in Selcon. I am keeping the copper at 1ppm because of the clowns, but must admit I was surprised to see them both with white spots this morning when they didn't have any yesterday. Should I dip them, or maybe ever so slightly raise the copper to nearer 1.5ppm?  <No to the dip unless you are moving them elsewhere... and do get/use a test kit that will render you a measure of free cupric ion... this is all that is important... or do the calculation provided by the manufacturer to come to this value from their chelated product> Is it normal for there to be a cycle or two of parasites that survive the first few days of treatment?  <Yes... very astute of you... especially in "late caught" situations where multiple generations of parasites have had time to reproduce asynchronously> I tried to get a picture with a digital camera of the smaller clown's black spot, but didn't have any luck! By the way, the two damsels are fine so far. Once again, any help on what to do for these sick fish is greatly appreciated! Kris <I know how hard all of this is/can be... stay the course. 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>

Ich on clowns Hi Bob, I'm very new at this. . . I've been reading everything I can find on saltwater tanks since I set up my first 20 gallon and I have several questions.  <Good> First, my system: I have a Penguin BioWheel 170 filter and two lights - one regular fluorescent and one Actinic Blue - I want to have corals later. The tanks been cycling for just over two weeks with two tank raised percula clowns (I asked, and the LFS said two clowns could survive the cycle).  <Hmm... stressful though...> So far, they've done fine (sort of - I'm getting there). During the middle of my cycle I introduced a Berlin airlift protein skimmer (which I've since read is not the time to introduce a protein skimmer ? ).  <Yes, generally better to wait till the system is completely cycled> The first problem I encountered was off-the-chart high nitrites. At the suggestion of LPS, I used Bacter Plus to bring the nitrites down and today they're at .25 ppm. Side note - as nitrites are going down, I'm seeing more and more brown algae in tank.  <Yes... opportunistic... with tank changes... will cycle out...> I also thought some air bubbles might help oxygenate the water, so I added a bubble tube to the back (my own hypothesis - and actually, when it's on, they didn't gasp at the top at all). <Many things possibly going on... and good to have the added aeration> Yesterday, I noticed a fish scratching against the substrate and saw a few spots, which LFS said were probably Ich. So I bought Quick Cure for 2 reasons: 1. I want inverts later and read that copper was toxic to inverts and hard to get out of tank once introduced (but then my filter, which the LFS recommended has a copper bag in it). . . and 2. The LPS highly recommended it. I removed the copper bag b/c <Hmm, likely you mean activated carbon which removes copper... and LFS, "Livestock Fish Store"> quick cure bottle recommended it but now the only filtration/water movement I have is the BioWheel, protein skimmer, and bubbles - is that dangerous? Today was the second treatment with Quick Cure, I still see Ich and fish are still scratching but it's only been 1 ? days - I read on an earlier post today that you said Quick Cure could be toxic to fish, but I couldn't find the original post. . . <This product is indeed quite toxic... and also may well have been unnecessary... Your Clowns might not have "Ich" or any other parasitic agent...> Please explain if you think I'm doing anything wrong or could do anything better. I've gotten pretty attached to my clowns. Many thanks, Laura <Thank you for writing, and be assured I will help you. Please take the time to read through the "Clownfish" sections and associated FAQs files posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com and consider what you find there that applies to your current situation... as well as the "Marine Parasitic Disease", "Ich", "Copper Use"... other sections that interest you. At this point, I would cease the Quick Cure treatments and let your system come to a full cycle... else you are likely to overall cause your livestock more harm than good (Please also see "The Three Sets of Factors that Determine Livestock Health" section as well...). Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich on Clowns, forgot to mention
I wrote earlier about the new 20 gal. tank with .25 nitrites and Ich (I'm using QuickCure). . . Forgot to mention that the temperature is 80 degrees F., the salinity 1.023, and the fish are still eating normally (voraciously, which is normal for them). Don't know if that will help you diagnose my tank, but maybe. . . Any suggestions on how to rectify this amateur's problems would be most appreciated. Many thanks, Laura <When this system "settles down" cycle-wise, it may well be prudent to raise the temp., lower the spg to rid the fish of their apparent spots... not now. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ich on clowns
Thank you Bob for your speedy reply. I'll definitely take your advice. Since I last wrote, my clowns are acting worse. I'll definitely stop the QuickCure treatments, <Best to... the active ingredient is... formalin... imagine having that in your eyes... on your skin...> but can I put the carbon filter back in the tank?  <Yes... I would> I'm wondering if QuickCure says not to mix w/ Carbon or Charcoal because it will hurt the water quality or b/c it will neutralize the "medicine"? <Yes... it absorbs the Quick Cure...> I'm guessing it's the latter, but I want to be safe. Thanks, Laura <Be chatting my new friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick clowns
Hi Bob, I wrote yesterday about the sick clowns. I've read just about all the posts you mentioned, put the carbon filter back in my tank, and have tried to just get things back to normal. But my fish are acting worse today. One is just hanging out at the top, then occasionally swimming lazily around. The other is hiding out by a shell. I still see white spots on both fish - though maybe not as many as yesterday - I hope that doesn't mean the Ich (if that's what it is) has dropped off to reproduce. <Yes... > I'm wondering if I can do anything to help them. I know I shouldn't use QuickCure, but what about CopperSafe or some other product? My nitrites are steadily going down. Today they're between .25 and 0 ppm. Does this mean my tank is at the end of its cycle? <Unfortunately... and this is why you should have been instructed/advised to wait on fish livestock... the copper, other materials, environmental manipulation will/would likely kill the Clowns at this point... and forestall or worsen the nitrogen lack-of-cycling situation...> The only thing I could think of that I haven't tested is the alkalinity, which I don't know much about - Today I tested it and it's between 1.1 and 1.7. My pH is 8.2. <This is low... and can be slightly elevated by the addition of some baking soda... sodium bicarbonate... Please just mix a heaping teaspoon in some system water in a glass and add daily... safe and a help here... after the system is cycled (no, zero, zip nitrites), I would start to slowly lower spg and elevate temp... a thousandth and a degree F. respectively per day... hopefully this will be soon enough to save your clowns... in the meanwhile do increase aeration if you can, and extend the "light period" of this system to about fourteen hours per day... this will help to speed along nitrification establishment and help your Clowns> If you have any suggestions for how I can help my fish, I would be sooo appreciative. Do you think they're on in really bad shape? as in near-death, or just stressed? <Likely very stressed... yes.> Thanks, Laura <Bob Fenner>

Clown fish Mr. Fenner, I have two clowns. A male and a female and they get along great. For about a week now I have been observing my female very closely. Near her belly and on the two lower fins closer to her gills I have noticed that she has white matter on her . She is very active moving sand and picking up larger pieces of coral to clear them from her anemone. The white matter (maybe Ich ) seems to have come and gone this last week. I believe it maybe spreading but I have not seen it spread to a larger area or different area as of yet. I was wondering if I should keep monitoring the fish or try a fish water dip to control the problem if indeed their is one. Also, what procedures do I follow when doing a fresh water dip if needed. Thank You, Jason Cohen <If it were my tank, livestock I would not dip, nor "treat" this condition with chemicals, but definitely keep an eye on the situation... and likely add a cleaner organism (like a Lysmata Shrimp sp. if it will go in this system)... Please read over the "Cleaners" section and FAQs and Clownfish health FAQs on the www.WetWebMedia.com site where you'll also find notes on protocols for dips/baths for marines. Bob Fenner>
Re: clown fish
Thank you Mr. Fenner for the advice. I will definitely watch for any change in the clowns condition. I would like to add the cleaner shrimp as you requested but I am not sure if it will be accepted in my reef system. I have the 2 clowns and one anemone, arrow head crab, watchman goby, 3 green Chromis, sally light foot, coral banded shrimp, and 18 hermits and snails. If the creatures I have in my tank will not interfere with the cleaner shrimp than I will add one tomorrow from my local pet store with your acceptance. Thank You, Jason Cohen <Hmm, I share your concern... with the presence of all those other crustaceans... there might well be some negative interaction with the CBS, and do keep your eye on that Arrow Crab... it alone can/will get big enough to threaten your fishes (yes, they do eat fishes)... Perhaps a Cleaner Goby (genus Gobiosoma) would be a better choice. Images and more on the WWM site re. Bob Fenner>

Clownfish Breathing Hard hello I have a clown fish that is breathing real hard but the weird thing is that everything in the test kit that I have is all perfect? what do you think it is and what should I do for it? thanks <Many possibilities here... could be just simple anoxia (lack of aeration, circulation)... possibly an osmotic imbalance (too much change in your water make-up in too short a period of time), perhaps a Brooklynella infestation... Please read through the Clownfish Health/Disease sections and related FAQs files posted on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com for hopefully what will surface as the cause/s, path to take here. 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>

Sick Clown Bob, Thanks for the great web site. I have been reading through a lot of the articles and FAQ's and have learnt a lot in my short time in the hobby. <Great to hear/read> The reason for writing is that I have a new Common Clown who seems to be sick. He is one of a pair that were purchased a week ago. When introduced into the aquarium (200L/ 50gal) the two clowns were fine and swam happily together. It did not take long for the larger of the pair (2 1/2") to start harassing the smaller (1 1/2") (male?) <Maybe> and giving him a really hard time. I have since separated the two as you suggest by using a breeder trap and placing the aggressive clown in that. <Good idea/move> However the smaller clown is still not eating and has faded a little. He is also trailing a very fine white thread from the vent and has become very very inactive. Is this the effect of stress alone or could the clown be suffering from an illness of some form. The fish were at the LFS for quite a while and looked good together every time I visited. <Were they wild-caught (versus captive propagated)? Likely some sort of internal parasite/infectious agent if the former...> The tank set-up is relatively new but has been cycled with damsels and the ammonia and nitrite levels are within acceptable ranges. Any ideas on what I can do to get the great little fish back to his former self. Regards, Scott Alford, Sydney, Australia <A few choices here... if there seemed a good chance this Clown would resume feeding, I might spike its food with a bit of Metronidazole/Flagyl powder, hoping to flush out an internal parasite... If not, just keeping the system stable and optimized would likely do it in time. At the more extreme, removal to a separate treatment tank with lowered specific gravity and elevated temperature might be called for. Do keep your eyes keen on the fish's sides as there may well be velvet (Amyloodinium) or Brooklynella as the real culprit here. Bob Fenner, just back from Brisbane, Gladstone, Heron Island this month. >

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>

Disease question HI Bob, Happy Thanksgiving! I am a new aquarist and need some advice on my pink skunk clown fish. I have had my 10 gallon hospital tank set up for over a month now with 8.5 lbs live rock with one pink skunk clown fish and a purple Dottyback. Each fish is well adjusted and has their territories all mapped out. Each fish has been eating voraciously since I put them in the tank on 11/4. <Sounds good... and am glad to hear the Dottyback's not being too mean to your Clown> My water conditions have stayed consistent since I set up the tank. I have an AquaClear 200 power filter and a Hagen powerhead running. My PH has stayed stable at @8.4, temp a consistent 78 degrees, no ammonia or nitrites or nitrates. Salinity has stayed consistent at @1.024. <So far, so good> I have fed the fish Spirulina and frozen brine shrimp only once a day. <okay> For over a week I noticed that the clownfish has a tiny white spec on the edge of his caudal fin and one on the edge of his dorsal fin. I'm concerned that it may be Ich but the fish is eating voraciously, swimming normally and there is nothing on his body. His pectoral fins are clear and his eyes are clear. He's breathing normally and behaving normally. <I wouldn't become overly concerned... spots could be nothing... would not try to "treat" this chemically or with environmental manipulation at this point... But would avail myself of a cleaner... like a Lysmata Shrimp sp. if it will fit into your stocking plan> At what point do I get concerned about Ich. The Dottyback is completely fine. I am resistant to use copper as my water parameters are perfect and I do not want to use chemicals unless absolutely necessary. I have been testing the water every week to keep it in good shape so I'm not sure what to make of these two specs. <I agree with your sentiment... and would try the cleaner, and a dip/bath procedure on moving the specimens to the main system... detailed on the www.wetwebmedia.com site> Any guidance you could provide would be much appreciated. <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Injured Clark clown? Hi Bob I have in my 58 gallon Oceanic reef ready tank with oversized Oceanic wet dry filter and Oceanic Model 3 protein skimmer. I have a 4 inch Pterois Volitans, two 2 inch Amphiprion Clarkii, 2 inch Abudefduf oxyodon, <The Lionfish will consume these last four> 3 inch Centropyge Bicolor, 2 inch Paracanthurus Hepatus and a 3 inch Zebrasoma veliferum. I also have one medium Hermit Crab and a Condylactis anemone. As far as water quality, my nitrates are almost nonexistent. The problem I have is one of the Clarkii's appears to have injured his jaw and he has stopped eating. There is a reddish spot on the left side of it's jaw that looks like the skin has been scuffed up. It happened shortly after putting in the Bicolor but I never saw them fighting. His bottom lip looks swelled up and he doesn't open and close his mouth like the other one. I think it was an injury but I wanted to check with you to see if it sounds like an injury to you or some sort of disease. He still looks healthy otherwise but I know he won't last long if I can't get him to eat. I tried putting StressCoat but he hasn't healed up. I love having these beautiful creatures in my house but I hate the thought of them dying because of some I did or didn't do. I have read the Conscientious Marine Aquarist ( that's why I used all the scientific names ) and keep it in my nightstand for reference. My fish all seem to get along with just the occasional chase and they all have been eating very well until now. Another question I have is about feeding the Volitans. I have read to feed every other day ( he eats frozen silversides )
<This is fine... your Lionfish will live much longer, happier...> and was wondering if he will still get to big for my tank.  <Well, the tank is fully stocked... but should be fine...> I know I am overstocked somewhat but I do keep a close eye on water quality and have not had a problem yet. Thank You Steve Bolling <Thank you for writing... and I do share your concern re the Clownfish. This is likely a physical trauma as you suggest... the fish probably bumped into something hard... likely at night... If it doesn't appear to be "self-healing" I would encourage your intervention. Prepare a wet, clean hand towel (no soap residue), and a Cotton Swab (like a Q-tip tm), and a mercury-based topical (e.g. mercurochrome, Merthiolate, Merbromin) and gingerly net out the Clown, support it on the wetted towel and daub the topical with the swab directly on the fishes sore area. Repeat every two days if the animal doesn't seem to be responding, and do keep offering it a mix of foods daily, including some live if you can secure this. There is good reason to believe this specimen will recover. Bob Fenner>

Clown peculiar Hi I'm kind of new to the hobby and recently bought 2 pec clowns. We acclimated them into the tank and everything seemed fine. About two weeks later, we couldn't find one of the clowns. When we found him he seemed to be just hiding by a rock barely moving. He finally came out and his mouth looks like its infected. It is white all over. The other clown has the same thing, just a small area though. Does this make any sense. Thanks! Sincerely, Steve Rubin >> Definitely a bad sign, very bad. Hopefully this animal will turn around for you... this sort of appearance is linked with shipping damage mostly, and is typically fatal. There is a fine line between the damage of catching/manipulating the specimen (typically to dip it or daub a medication on the mouth) and just leaving it be, optimizing water quality, and hoping for the best. Bob Fenner

LA Clownfish Help! Hey Bob! How are ya? I wish I had a chance to talk with you more at the MASLAC meeting. What are you up to? <Same ole madness... Writing, running, making pix, whassup?> My friend e-mailed me with distressing news about my clownfish. The clown has been in his tank for more than six months. About two or three months ago he added a Dottyback and then about two weeks ago put in another percula and a scooter blenny. I've included his e-mail and was wondering if you have any suggestions. I was thinking it might be Brooklynella and should be treated with a freshwater dip. <Yikes, there's a spate of this funky protozoan problem about...> Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! Stay Cool! Madison My friend's e-mail: The bad news is last night I notice something funny on/in the mouth our your clown. She was breather fast too. It looks kinda clear/whitish and swollen. Today it is worse and she's not very interested in eating. Which is WAY unusual for her. She's recently put on a bunch of weight too. The other clown is fine, and the blenny, but the pseudo looks like its got some on its mouth too. <Hmm, not Brooklynella on the other fishes.> I'm thinking it is either a fungus or a bacteria. Any ideas on how to tread it? Freshwater dip? Leave it alone? Marina Oomed in a q tank? Iodine dip? <Not primarily a fungal or bacterial problem I'd wager... time to look to root causes... whatever tests you have for water quality... And improve what you can... water changes, clean your skimmer, add some activated carbon...>  I've never seen anything like it before, yesterday she was still eating as every. She still has plenty of weight, but looks like she's having some trouble swimming. >> <What do you feed your fishes? I would cut back altogether, and start utilizing more fresh, frozen material and leave off with dried, prepared foods... Additionally, as a cathartic, I would lower your specific gravity (a couple of thousandths per day, down to about 1.018... to enhance gas solubility, thermal stress effects... And do take a read over the "Clown" materials stored on our site: Home Page to see if something stored there "clicks" with your situation. Bob Fenner>

The Brooklynella Blues I just purchased a percula clown. It won't eat anything but newly hatched brine shrimp and the day after I got it, it developed what looks like Ich.  <Actually, more likely another protozoan infection peculiar to Clownfishes... do you have a cleaner organism in with it?> It doesn't seem to be eating at all now (4 days later) and is growing listless. Any ideas about what I can do to get it to eat something besides brine shrimp? I treated the Ich for 2 days when I first saw a problem but the fish seemed to be declining faster in the medicated water (malachite green) I am brand new to the marine hobby but have kept freshwater fish for about 10 yrs. <The protozoan problem is not treatable with Copper-based Ich remedies... look into Brooklynella... and institute freshwater dips and formalin treatments... NOW! Bob Fenner>

My poor clownfish. A little over a week ago my clown jumped into the "bubble box" on my Mombassa skimmer. By the time I found him he was beat up pretty bad missing scales etc) since my tanks a reef all I did was feed him food soaked in Selcon for a few days. He looks great but swims head up tail down I think he has swim bladder infection. Luckily I'm moving to a bigger tank so I will be able to put him in my Q tank. What would be the best way to treat him?  Thanks, Robert >> Really to do about what you're doing... making sure it's getting fed... and providing peaceful surroundings... these sorts of traumas take time to heal on their own... no way to expedite them. Bob Fenner

Percula Clowns I have tried twice without success to keep two percula clowns. Several months ago, I purchased two clowns. Both healthy looking fish, both did well for several weeks. Then one day I noticed that one of the fish looked "faded" on the orange part of the coloring. Still acted okay, just looked "faded" almost turning whitish. A while later, I noticed the same fish had regained it's normal coloring. Next day when I looked in the tank, the fish was dead. Several months passed, the remaining clown doing very well. I decided to add another one. Brought one home, did fine. But for only 8 days. Today I noticed the same "faded" whitish look to his body. A little later it began to swim erratically and has since died. Any ideas? I have only the one other clown and one yellow tang. Both are doing well and have been for nearly a year. I also have an assortment of crabs, snails, 4 peppermint shrimp, about 10 soft corals and one bubble tipped anemone. All are healthy and doing fine. >> Sounds like a/the common Clownfish malady/parasite Brooklynella... the one Clown you have has developed an acquired immunity... I would leave off with trying to place other Clownfish species/specimens in this system... this problem will not affect/infect other fish species... or invertebrates. Bob Fenner

Clown questions I have a true Perc clown and it took a week for it to adapt to the tank, no eating and got real sluggish, I took it back to the store and asked if they would keep it a couple of days till I lowered my nitrate and was told nitrate would not kill it?? <Like the Damselfishes they're so closely related to, Clownfishes do exhibit tremendous tolerance to nitrogen problems... given the specimens start healthy.> I put it back in the tank and did a water change and it is now eating and really seems to like my in tank thermometer asked the store were I bought it about an anemone for it and was told they like carpet anemone's,????Also it has a swollen eye or one is bigger than the other? any help is needed THANKS >> This species is naturally found in association with Heteractis crispa, H. magnifica, and Stichodactyla gigantea (two of these are listed by FFExpress), though they may get along symbiotically with other large anemones...  An anemone isn't necessary however, and not advised unless and until you have a well-established system, and know what is involved in their care... not easy. The pop-eye on one side is usually indicative of a physical trauma... rather than infection, or environmental cause...  Bob Fenner

Black spots on Clownfish Bob, I've got a Clownfish with a problem. I've had this fish for over a year and he's always been very healthy. In the last 2 weeks, I've noticed some small black spots developing on the lower portion of his body and fins. This part of his body is yellow and the spots are jet black, so it doesn't fit the profile of Ick or velvet.  He still eats well and doesn't seem to be in great distress, although he's a little more jumpy and active than before. He hasn't been flashing, but seems more interested in staying in the highest current areas of the tank. He's probably trying to cure himself but I think he needs help. It doesn't seem any better now than a week ago and is actually a little worse. Other animals in the tank include the typical "cleanup crew" mix of hermit crabs and snails, a yellow mimic tang, a small pink crab that came with a (now dead) birds nest coral, decorator crab, black banded starfish, green star polyps, colt coral, yellow leather coral, and button polyps, all of which are doing fine. Nothing new has been added for over 6 months except what springs up in the tank (hermit crabs and snails are reproducing, sessile worms, feather dusters, etc). The tank is a 40 Gal. with ~50 lbs. of live rock. It's been running for over 1 year. Very little green algae, lots of coralline algae. Alk/Cal are at 4/400, nitrates ~10ppm, phosphates near 0, good water movement (2 MaxiJet 1000s, Knop Skimmer, Fluval Canister w/spray bar), good lighting (2x96w Power Compact). Filter contains Eheim coarse media prefilter, Kent "reef carbon", "bio-max", and sponge. SG is ~1.023 and average temperature is 80F (ranges from 79-81). I do a 5 gallon water change monthly. >The Clown's markings are almost undoubtedly nothing more than "regular" "age-spots"....not an infectious, parasitic problem, nor indication of  >environmental difficulties... I would do nothing to "treat" this dark spot  condition... Bob Fenner Bob, Thanks a lot for your advice. At first I thought it was nothing to worry about and then paranoia took over. The clown does seem to be OK and eating well. I will leave well enough alone. Thanks, Dave >> Ah, good... the "null hypothesis" (the "cost" of doing nothing) is often lost in the human experience... This is the best (i.e. "wait, look, and see") approach in this case... in my estimation. Be chatting, Bob Fenner I don't have a hospital or fish-only tank running right now. I can start up a small hospital tank if needed. Any advice you can share will be most appreciated. Dave >> The Clown's markings are almost undoubtedly nothing more than "regular" "age-spots"....not an infectious, parasitic problem, nor indication of environmental difficulties... I would do nothing to "treat" this dark spot condition...  Bob Fenner

Fish deaths Hey Bob: My tank is about 3 months new. I recently purchased three non- true Perculas (clown fish) about 2 weeks ago. I assimilated them properly etc. Water conditions are excellent. Ph, Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonia, salinity all good. Two Perculas died. I currently have 3 Chromis damsels, 1 clown fish, 1 Fire shrimp, 25 turbo snails, 1 jewel goby, and 15 scarlet reef hermit crabs. Think the shrimp or crabs might be getting to the clowns when they rest on the substrate at night. What do you think? Thanks Sherm  >> Ocellaris Clownfishes just seeming to die for no reason... especially when new? Not surprising... Were these animals tank-bred and raised? I would encourage you to go with only this type... the wild ones (likely what you got) are notoriously poor survivors... The crustaceans only ate the fish after they had perished. Bob Fenner

Dark spots on clowns I have a pair of Clarks clowns in a small eclipse 6 gal tank. The female started developing dark spots - not raised - mostly on her belly - and sprinkled over the rest of her. The male is starting to get them now. They both seem to be acting all right - eating very well, active etc ...  Water quality in the tank is in the good range. They seemed to start after  adding a Zoanthid colony.  What could be the cause - and what should I do about this? Thanks, Kathryn >>

I wouldn't do much... this species (Amphiprion clarkii) is very variable in its coloring and markings... and these may be nothing but "regular" or "stress" coloration (the black is neurally derived)... and not parasitic or infectious disease in nature. These animals are in an unnaturally small volume of water... I would be saving up for something larger to move them to. Bob Fenner

Amphiprion clarkii

Dark spots on clowns Thanks for the advice. Other than the spots - they seem to be fine. This was my starter tank - trying to get a larger tank going for the fish and keep the small one for some shrimp & corals. I appreciate your help. Kathryn  >> Ah, good. Glad to be here.  I wish you well, Bob Fenner

Brooklynella, Microsporidium, or Lymphocystis? Hello, I recently made the mistake of purchasing a large (3") Amphiprion ocellaris (common clownfish) from my local fish store. They had just received the animal when I purchased it, mistake number two. I added the clownfish to my newly cycled reef tank (mistake number three, biggest one). Within 24 hours I noticed a white wart/cauliflower growth on the animal's right side, in the white band area, just behind the gills. The clownfish will not eat and appears to be stagnant although it is moving about somewhat. The animal does not exhibit any other signs of infection, no small white spots, glazed or popping eyes, scratching, fin rot, and the like. What has infected my fish? I've narrowed it down to either Brooklynella, Microsporidium, or Lymphocystis or ? ? ? What can I do to cure the fish and save my reef tank. Should I remove the infected fish to prevent the disease from spreading to the other tank mates (choc chip star, scooter blenny, 2 turbo snails, 6 reef crabs)? Please advise, I want to save my tank and the clown if possible. thanks, Dan Rose >> Thank you for writing so well, including with such clarity and humility... Glad to know that I'm not the only one who makes egregious errors in the hobby... I would almost bet that what you are seeing is indeed the Clown-attacking protozoan Brooklynella... And would in any case follow these steps. Do take the fish out and treat it in a separate "hospital" system... for it's sake, the use of the treatment "medicine", and the safety from the same of the rest of your system. The likelihood that the Brooklynella will affect your other livestock is minimal (there are no other Clownfishes...)... Copper is of little use if indeed this is Brooklynella, but formalin dips/baths are efficacious. Buy a stock solution (my fave retail brand is Kordon, but any will do)... generally a few drops per quart of pH adjusted (just with sodium bicarbonate, baking soda is fine) freshwater... and move the fish from the main tank into this solution for about ten minutes... either add an airstone, occasionally splash the water around for aeration), move the Clown to the bare-bottom (but still filtered, aerated.... with a hang on, sponge, box filter...) hospital/quarantine system... Dump the treatment water... repeat every day for three days... and stop there if there is no further visible sign of the disease... If it re-shows or persists, wait two days and resume the dip/baths... This will work....  Bob Fenner 

Help with a fish tank I received a 46 gal. bow front as a Christmas gift. It was setup by the staff from the store at which it was bought with a Fluval 303 canister filter, a fluidized bed filter, crushed coral substrate, a fluorescent strip light and several coral pieces off the shelves. After cycling the tank with 5 yellow-tailed damsels for 4 weeks (only one damsel survived) water levels were normal. After consulting with another fish store we began to add in live rock. 15lbs and climbing. Water levels are still normal but brown algae began to grow. Also on suggestion from the second store we purchased an Algae Blenny (lawnmower?) and some blue legged hermit crabs. The algae has subsided except on one large piece of white coral rock. (Any opinion on these as decorations?) <They're decorations... all sounds, so far, like a "usual" progression of  your and your systems development> After two weeks we decided to add a Flame Hawk and a percula clown. The flame hawk is doing well, as well as the Blenny and the damsel; however we noticed the clown developed a white growth on its right side and was dead by morning. Any ideas what the culprit was?  <Probably one of two "clown specific" protozoan infestations... won't affect/infect your other livestock> Is it something that will effect future clowns?  <Possibly. I would leave the tank "clown less" for a good month or more... and NOT presume your supplier's) is/are doing their bit to eliminate these problems, real or potential, ahead of your procuring livestock from them... do employ at least dips/baths with treatment chemicals, and/or quarantine procedures for your new life, system. My rundown on these issues can be perused at your leisure in articles, book sections, et al. stored at the URL:  www.wetwebmedia.com> I would also like to move more towards a semi-reef tank with more live rock and possibly an anemone or two. Any suggestions on improving filtration and lighting? <You're moving right along... Yes, you really need to upgrade both... Again, these are lengthy, involved issues... that you, I and your livestock will do better with if you'll take the time to read over the pieces stored on the WWM site on "Marine Light, Lighting, Filtration, Anemones....> I've also been told that cleaner shrimp would be a good idea - but doesn't the Flame Hawk remove that possibility?  <In general, yes. But I would be inclined to try a larger specimen, species of Lysmata when you have sufficient rock for it to hide in when it is molting, wanting to get away...> The next wanted additions to the tank would be an anemone and a mated pair of clowns (we know its early but that's the goal). Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Tom Rossman >> Much more coming, my inquisitive friend, Bob Fenner

SICK CLOWN Dear Bob, Recently, my true percula clown has gotten Ick. Currently, he is in a 10 gallon quarantine tank, dosed with Cupramine copper. Its got a whisper filter of adequate size, heater, a rock, one powerhead, and a 15 watt NO bulb. I have not measured the copper level, but my guess, from what I have dosed, is around .7 or .8 PPM. He is getting better, at least it looks that way. But when I got home today, he was upside down, in the upper back corner of the tank!!! He is still very much alive, but he is still upside down. He does still eat, but not if it is more than 2 or 3 inches below the surface. I checked nitrate and nitrite, all fine, and I put ammonia neutralizer in daily, since I do not have a test for ammonia, and I cannot use carbon in my filter because of the copper. He will turn over, but not for very long, maybe a few seconds, then goes back to being upside down. Question 1- Does this setup for a quarantine tank sound good? Question 2- Could he be upside down because of the high copper levels? If not, then what? Question 3- I have heard clowns are sensitive to copper treatments. Should I change to a different treatment, such as Clout or Rid-Ick, both of which are readily at hand? Thanks for any help you can give, Ryan >> Yikes Ryan... things don't look/sound good. Do agree that Clownfishes (and other fishes that live in close association with invertebrates) are sensitive to copper... and I do hope that what you really are seeing is Ich... a few other common clownfish parasite problems (e.g. Brooklynella) look similar symptomatically, but are not susceptible to copper treatment. 1) The quarantine set-up sounds okay. 2) The copper could indeed be mal-affecting the clown, but the overall stress and disease itself could account for the behavior as well. 3) Here's where I have to clobber you. Even with semi-sequestered formats of copper like Cupramine, you need to have/use a copper test kit. Re-read the products label and use instructions. It calls for a first day input of 1 ml. per ten gallons that will render a free copper reading of 0.25 ppm and a follow-up treatment at the same rate to give a reading of 0.50ppm. It has been my experience that this product will not effect a therapeutic effect unless it is at least at a 0.20 concentration or a treatment effect unless it is at a 0.30 ppm dose. Yours is way too low... in other words, the present concentration is not doing anything to treat the fish. The only way to tell how much copper (Cu++) you have in solution is a test kit.     I would NOT switch to another medication. The Cupramine can/will do "the job" if it is Ich, and the other "Med.s" would likely push the fish over the edge. If the fish is still alive, do lower the specific gravity over the next two days to 1.017, raise the Cupramine concentration to at least 0.20 and keep it there (by testing, re-addition of Cupramine). Do keep your eye on ammonia levels, changing water if you don't have, or want to invest in an ammonia test kit...     You might benefit from reading the archived articles on copper use, marine fish diseases, Clownfishes on my wetwebmedia.com website. It's free. Bob Fenner

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