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FAQs about the Diseases of Clownfishes, Nutritional

 Related FAQs: Clownfish Feeding, 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: Environmental Stress, 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 SystemsClownfishes and AnemonesBreeding Clowns

Related Articles: Clownfish Disease, BrooklynellosisClownfishes, Maroon Clowns, Marine Disease


Clownfish breathing rapidly after feeding      5/5/14
Hello, I am currently experiencing a 3 week long problem with my 7 year old female Ocellaris Clownfish. Whenever I feed her, minutes later, she becomes semi-listless and she starts breathing rapidly.
<Mmm; wonder... some sort of gut blockage? What do you feed?>

It appears that her left gill plate stops functioning while the right one is pumping away at high speed. This usually lasts for about 1 to 2 hours and then it slowly goes away and she starts swimming around, more and more, like normal. There are no signs of external parasites, cloudy eyes, sores or any other physical abnormalities and her appetite is strong and she has continued to lay eggs. My other 2 fish seem to be fine, at this stage. All measurable water parameters are excellent in my display tank, however, I decided to put her into a hospital/auxiliary tank to see if maybe there was some sort of unseen toxin in my DT that was bothering her. Unfortunately, the problem has not gone away. I also gave her a freshwater bath( un-medicated ), but it did nothing to help. She doesn't do well in a FW bath. I have dipped plenty of fish before, usually for 5 to 10 minutes, with no problems. She, however, gets very stressed after only 3 minutes, so that was all I could do with her. I don't know if this is some sort of gill fluke or an internal parasite or something else. Any ideas and a plan for action would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Arthur.
<Well; there are times, not uncommon where fishes will breathe more quickly, and only apparently one-sided. Again; the foods...
Bob Fenner>
Re: Clownfish breathing rapidly after feeding     5/6/14

Thanks for your quick response, I feed frozen Mysis and brine shrimp in the morning and herbivore flakes in the evening.
<Mmm; these should be okay. I'd switch out a good quality, small sized pelleted in the stead of the flake for a few weeks...>
This is what I have always fed them. I forgot to mention, that along with the listlessness, there are also
other signs of stress like some scratching, darting and something that resembles coughing. Thanks.
<Am now thinking it/this may be "something else" the Clown ate, is eating... like small worms, mollusks in the system... that it can't quite pass. Perhaps the addition of a modicum of Epsom salt will help here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Clownfish breathing rapidly after feeding     5/6/14
Thanks Bob, there are hundreds of little white snails, about 1/16" in size, crawling around my live rock and tank.
I do see her often picking them off the rock and glass whenever they get too close to her eggs. I have never
seen her eat one, but I suppose she could have eaten one, by accident, in the eviction process. I would like to try the Epsom salt, so please tell me how much and for how long. Thank you, Art.
<Please just search on WWM... too much to re-key. Cheers, B>

Overly Buoyant Clown Fish   10/4/11
Hey guys,
Just thought I would drop a quick note this morning. I had a bit of a concern last night, and searched WWM, but didn't find anything that sounded right. After eating, my female clown seemed unable to keep from floating to the surface, and was fighting to stay around her favourite rock. I didn't think it was a swim-bladder problem, as it came on so suddenly.
<... "gassy" food it reads as>
She got to a point where she was resting, inverted, under a protruding lip of said rock, to keep from floating. The best advice I found on WWM was "wait a bit and see". I suspected that she had swallowed air eating, as she went kind of crazy over the new flake food I fed the tank last night.
<Mmm, maybe... again, I'd be careful re how much of this flake food you offer>
She was a wriggling mass of clown feeding frenzy. Her stomach, which normally rounds-out quite a bit after feeding (and eating a lot more than the male), seemed even more expanded, but aside from looking tired, she didn't seem to be in any distress. Indeed, this morning, she was swimming normally, and happy as a well-fed clown. She is as bad as my Beagle for eating a lot more
than she ought to......
<Like your alliteration here>
Thanks as always for all your hard work,
<And you for your report. Bob Fenner>

Strange clownfish behavior, fdg. pref.  12/10/09
Dear Crew!
Thank you for maintaining such an informative and helpful website. I have learned a ton about reefkeeping from you, guys. However, I recently stumbled upon a situation to which I could not find the answer in FAQs or anywhere else on the web. I have a clownfish - Amphiprion percula - which is about 2 - 2.5 inches long. I have had this fish for a month and he was fine all this time.
<Purchased at an adult size... this fish is a female almost w/o a doubt>
He was eating good (and still is) however, couple of days ago he started to through <homonym; throw> up food a minute or two after he eats.
I alternate the meals using brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, pe mysis shrimp, formula 2 pellets and Aqueon marine flakes. He only throughs up shrimps, flakes do not provoke such a reaction. There is no loss of appetite but he seems unable to keep it down. Everybody else in the tank (including 1 inch Amphiprion percula) is fine. Is that a disease?
<Mmm, doubtful>
If so, what kind is it and how do I treat it?
<Just not liking the shrimps... I'd switch these out for something different. My choice? Spectrum brand pelleted food>
Thank you very much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

My Black Ocellaris Clownfish Tremors After Eating 11/12/08 Hey Fish Masters! <I could get used to being called that...> My Name is Mario, <Hello Mario!> I've had my 29g tank for a year now. My water levels are good, I have a 120 gallon protein skimmer on it and have calcium and iodine supplements. My fish include 2 Ocellaris clown fish, 1 black Ocellaris clown fish, one firefish goby, and a black brittle star, cleaner skunk shrimp and 2 zebra hermits as well as 2 turbo nails.  Lately I've been feeding my fish flakes, but I like to give them brine shrimp 3x times a weeks and I always feed my brittle star and cleaner shrimp about half inch piece of krill every 2 days. <Glad to hear you're feeding the shrimp and brittle star. Do consider giving your fish a good pellet (I like the stuff from New Life Spectrum) or meaty food as well, like mysis, squid, or krill> When it comes to the fish the bigger of the 2 Ocellaris is always the one to eat the most with my goby staying in mid of the tank catch what they miss.  Lately, however my black Ocellaris has been beating every one to the food. My problem is that when his is done his gut is massive and he starts shaking around every where and sometimes even shakes while swimming vertically with his head pointing down toward. If I feed him more, he'll eat more while shaking around. At that point he's not as agile. After 2 hours everything's back to normal and when they eat for the second time in the evening the black clownfish starts again. What does this mean. <These clowns are opportunistic- food doesn't necessarily come by in great quantities on the reef, so they grab as much as they can, as often as they can. I've heard of these fish being fed until they literally bust their gut...to avoid this, try using a meaty food cut into many pieces...it may disperse enough in the tank to allow the other fish to feed without engorging your clown. You could also try feeding him in one corner of the tank, and while he's busy feed on the other side for the other fish. They won't get it the first few times, but you might be surprised by how quickly they catch on> Its too erratic to be a breeding dance. <Indeed. It is a "dear heaven my stomach hurts and I can't maintain proper buoyancy" dance...or perhaps some swallowed air because of the flake food.> Please give me your insights. Thanks! ph: 8.2, salinity: 1.22 <Ultimately, I wouldn't worry too much, provided your other fish aren't wasting away and you don't feed this fellow until he pops> <Benjamin>

Swollen abdomen...both my false clowns 7/23/08 Hi there...have read everything on your site that I thought was applicable to my quarry...but the picture is still a bit ambiguous. <Ok> I noticed about a week ago that one of my clowns (my largest) ab was swollen. My first impression was pregnancy. However, I believe it was the next morning, the ab was back down to normal size. A few days later...both clowns abs were swollen....next day or so, back to normal. Which brings us to. today...I noticed that they are both swollen again. Several things confuse me here. One. if I am dealing with some parasite. are they that coordinated that swelling/bloating occurs at the same time? <Seems unlikely.> Two. why would both be swollen, then go back to normal? <Something effecting them both, what are they being fed?> Three. have I just never noticed that this is what clowns do before they poop? So...really odd question. as I have never seen either of them poop...do their abs swell before they poop? <Not really usually.> Other than this...they are unremarkable. Have had them for almost 2 years. I have a 30 gal reef tank. Tested water this past weekend. All water qualities are excellent. Salinity 1.021. Blue tang, Cardinal are both excellent. <That tang needs a bigger home.> Thanks in advance for your thoughts. Mike <I would guess this is diet related, have you changed what you feed them recently?> <Chris>

Swollen abdomen...both my false clowns 7/23/08 I am looking to dbl up the size of the tank...unfortunately that has been put on hold for a bit. <Even then I would still stick with one, double is still pretty small.> I am feeding them Spirulina brine shrimp/mysis. <Drop the brine, worthless. Get a high quality pellet like New Life Spectrum, will be better off.> I am feeding 1/2 block every other day. <Probably too much for two small fish.> I have a feeling it should be more than every other day. <Is fine.> I am doing so b/c a worker at local saltwater store suggested it to get rid of the Cyano-bacteria. Now that it's gone, should I increase feedings? <Could, but less per feeding.> Thanks mike <Chris> Re: Swollen abdomen...both my false clowns 7/23/08 I will check out the food this afternoon. <Good> I have been feeding 1/2 block b/c all 4 fish eat the 1/2 block. Will the clowns, tang and cardinal all eat the New Life Spectrum? <Most likely.> Thx mk <Welcome> <Chris>

Clownfish Feeding/Not Much Of An Appetite... nutrition  11/9/07 Hi all, <Hi Ashlin> I wrote a couple weeks ago about Carlos, our Ocellaris clown not eating. Well, after treating him for everything we thought could be causing his non-eating/white feces, we finally just put him back in the main tank. Anyway, he's still not eating "regular" food, but we've noticed that he seems to be picking tiny water fleas off the live rock. <Copepods.> Are water fleas enough to sustain him? <If enough are present, yes.><Mmm, no. RMF. Not complete nutritionally>> He seems to be thinner, but he's still energetic and all that. He appears to want to eat the baby brine or other foods we try to give him, but just mouths it and spits it out, and then doesn't try anymore at that feeding. We've added some vitamins to the water, and tried enriching the offered food with both vitamins and appetite stimulants. I guess my main question is, can he survive off the water fleas, and do you think he'll eventually switch around and start accepting regular foods? Maria eats these things too, although she usually picks hers off the tank walls. She's also getting a bit picky... <Have you tried doing a 20% water change? This can sometimes stimulate the appetite. Was the fish treated in the main display or quarantine tank? Not good if treating in the main display, and if so, do filter the water through activated carbon, Chemi-Pure, or a Poly Filter, preferably one of the last two See if this doesn't improve the appetite. Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> ~Ashlin

- Clownfish with Mouth Problems - Hi <Hi.> My clown fish can't move his mouth anymore.  <Interesting.>  To eat, he has to swim towards the food and hopefully gets some. It's been about 4 days... happened after I added a fish to my 44 aquarium.  <Was he attacked? This seems an odd cause/effect if not.> The store where I purchased him said he probably has an iodine deficiency... When I did the search, it talked about shrimp and not clown fish.  <Sounds like a red herring... never heard of iodine deficiencies causing problems opening one's mouth... > Can you help me please? <I wish I could... there's not really a lot one "can" do. I'd keep offering food. I do wonder if this is really a problem with the fish's mouth, or just a general unwillingness to eat, which seems a more typical response to new occupants. If this is a hunger strike, then it will likely pass in a short time. If it is aggression, then you'll need to deal with that as you see fit - remove the aggressor or the victim to a separate system and consider your next step. As a side issue, there's nothing wrong with supplementing iodide in your system, but be very careful about the amounts you use... make certain to follow the directions. You may also want to try adding some fishy vitamins to the food you offer - Selcon or Boyd's VitaChem would be suggested.> Dianne <Cheers, J -- >   

Bloated clowns I have two pink skunk clowns that seemed to acclimate fine, found the LTA and dove right in less than 12 hours after introduction into the tank. In the last week both have begun to show signs of the belly bloating up and going slightly white.  They're eating, eating Mysis, brine, and flake and in less than 3 weeks I don't suspect nutritional causes. I do however have a very bad flatworm outbreak that may factor into it. Any ideas? <Well, the flatworms are more about nutrition, they've found a good food source and are breeding to fill the space. They're not a problem, unless they start covering any corals you may have and irritating them to death. As for the bloating, try dosing the tank with Epsom salts: 1 tablespoon/5 gallons of water. That should help the bloating, it will take a few days to happen. If that doesn't work, try feeding them a medicated flake. Watch for signs of possible internal parasites, if the bloated areas are moving, or their feces has thread like worms in it. If that's the case, there are anti-parasitic flakes as well. I would recommend moving them to QT to treat them. Have a good day, PF>

No Strings Attached? (Possible Parasite?) Hi, <Hello there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a Maroon clown that recently has gotten a ~ 1 inch thread-like substance (about the diameter of hair) coming out of his mouth. I noticed it suddenly about 4 days ago.  When he eats, it gets taken up into his mouth for awhile but then comes back out.  It doesn't seem to affect him in any other way except it startles him every once in awhile when it touches him. Also maybe his cheeks are slight pinched looking but his appetite is still good. Is this some sort of disease?  Should I try to remove it? <Hard to say what this could be...Some kind of worm, trematode, etc...You'll need to delve into the FAQ's on the WWM site to find descriptions and/or pictures of something similar...or you could try emailing us a picture for us to make a better identification> Secondly I have a Heniochus that has a few lymphocystis-like spots on his tail that appear to be growing (it had slight case of ich (treated with copper 4 weeks) in the same region right before getting these much larger spots).  Could this be bacterial or fungal (instead of lymphocystis) and should I section off that part of the tail? <Well, it could be a secondary infection of some sort...But then again- if it's Lymphocystis, this condition will usually clear up on its own, with simple attention to water quality and nutrition. Before attempting any radical "treatments", I'd give it another week or two to see if it is progressing or causing the fish discomfort. If it is progressing, once again I'd recommend that you get a positive ID on it before beginning a course of treatment using medication...> Thanks for any advice you can give. Eileen <Just be careful trying to identify what you're dealing with, an take appropriate actions as required...Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Medicated food for bloated clown. Kevin, Thanks for the info.  However I have one more question of ignorance. What exactly constitutes medicated food? <Tetra used to sell a great medicated food although now it's only available overseas. I suggest you fly to Germany to get some. Now, if you weren't interested in doing that, you could make your own but I would only suggest feeding it to the clown in a quarantine tank (there would be lots of excess medication getting into the water).> Like I said she is eating and surviving and right now a quarantine tank is not really an option due to space/financial constraints.  I have to say that if I was certain that would save her I would spend the money in a heartbeat (just spent $950 on surgery on my Labrador....when they become part of the family, they are that way for life). <Bummer :( hope she's better!>  IN the short term I would like to try medicated food.  About 2 weeks ago I removed ALL of the substrate (crushed coral with quite a bit of organic waste stored in there) <Hmmmm... fishy poo> and did 100% water change (suggested by my LFS).  Since then 10% water changes a week.  Oh yeah, here is a run down of my system just to help: 1 power head for water movement 1 box filter (mechanical and biological filtration) 1 CPR backpack II 20 lbs live rock 2-3 inches semi-live sand (only in the tank 2 weeks) 2 red leg hermits 1 crab 1 pygmy angel 1 sea cucumber 2 maroon clowns 0 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate Haven't checked the pH in a while. <You really need to check pH regularly, much more so than nitrate. pH can go wrong quicker and easier than anything you have tested and can be extremely stressful.> Anyway, I guess the real question is what exactly should I buy in the way of medicated food (or what should I look for. <Adding a general antibiotic to it's normal food would be the way to go in a quarantine tank. Be wary of trying this in the main because the biological filter is easily disturbed by antibiotics. You could even remove half a bucket of tank water and try feeding the fish in there with the medicated food, then after the fish has finished eating, throw the water away. If you can remove the fish slowly and carefully, it may not get stressed enough to refuse to eat.> My current plan of action is: 1.  Medicated Food 2.  Continued 10% water changes a week 3.  Possibly try small quarantine tank if I can come up with the equipment <best bet, look for a cheap 10g freshwater setup at your LFS or even (gasp) Petco.> 4.  Hope for the best Any other thoughts? <Try the bucket feeding, just don't leave it in the bucket for too long!> Thank you very much for your wonderful web site and all of the fabulous information contained therein. <Good luck! -Kevin> Tony Jopling

Clown swim-bladder problem. Hello again, I am still having some troubles with my female maroon clown.  She seems to be having a lot of trouble swimming.  She spends most of her time trying to keep upright.  She gets pushed around by the flow in the tank.  She sits resting under the rocks to keep sideways. She still wants to eat, and will work really hard to get to food.  I have been told by my LFS she might have "swim bladder infection."  Does this sound right? <Yep, when they have a hard time getting around and all the fins are intact, it's likely a gas bladder problem.> And if so can she recover? <Well, if you can eliminate the problem the fish can lead a somewhat normal life even with some swim bladder damage. Unfortunately, its difficult to figure out exactly what the cause is (bacterial, fungal, even could be caused by a blow). I'd recommend medicated food and some water changes on the tank, even removing the fish to a quarantine tank and treating with a general antibiotic.> Also, if she goes, how will the male of the mated pair react? <Eh, he won't care, one less fish to beat on him!> Hope you are having a great holiday weekend. <Thanks! Hope your clown gets better! -Kevin> Thanks, Tony Jopling

Percula Clown (disease) I can't figure it <What's "it"?> out my Tank <What size, shape?> has a Emperor 400 Filter with Chemi Sorb, and Phosp-Sorb, and 2 normal filters. I have for circulation, 2-802 powerheads, and 1-226 PowerSweep powerhead, and a Sea Clone Protein Skimmer, everything is working great. I have 220 watts of light 50-50Actinic and Actinic 03 Fluorescent (URI). It's a 75gal. reef, Livestock I have 1-Royal Gramma, 1-Yellow Tang, 1-Manderin Goby, 2-Pecula Clowns, 1-Sand Sifting Star, 65-Combined Blue Legged Hermits and Scarlets, 30-Astrea Snails, 1-BIG Turbo Snail, and 1-Fire Shrimp. My ? is I noticed my Percula Clown looked like it had a sm. hole in it's head above it's eye, now they both have them and more of them, They also started to turn a blackish color, my nitrite is perfect as well as my nitrate, amonia,Ph-8.0-8.2, Alkaline@9-10 which is right in the middle of the optimal scale, I can't fine no information on this matter can you please help? <Does sound like a typical/classical case of HLLE, head and lateral line erosion... there's a section on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com re this... "environmental" or "nutritional" disease. Do give this a read over... and supplement their food with a vitamin complex and iodine supplement> I forgot I have 5 Anenomes,2-types of sponges very sm. Red tree, and a green sponge, 2-rocks w/mushrooms, everything is great except the Clowns, and I change 20% water /Month Tropic Marin Salt mix. <Be chatting my alliterative friend. 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>

Clownfish color change Hi again Bob! <Anthony Calfo, and pleased to meet you <G>> Thanks for constantly letting us pick your brain like cleaner shrimp on yellow tangs.  <hmmm... a Vulcan mind meld even... and I'm not even a trekkie> My question is about a darkened body color of an Ocellaris clown (Mr. Wiggles). I got him one month ago and after a week and a half in my tank his color began to darken considerably.  <maybe he is angry at the name you gave him> It is to the point where his body is completely darkened (black-orange). Only his pectoral fins and face are the original orange color. <sounds like he's furious to me> Environment: Mr. Wiggles lives in a mixed reef tank which has been running for about 6 months. pH is kept at 8.4, alkalinity is 3.6, and specific gravity at 1.024-1.025 at 79 degrees. Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate are undetectable. I do not test for phosphate but judging from a recent microalgae breakout I would think it is above ideal levels. <besides the possible phosphate, quite excellent indeed> Behavior: He eagerly takes frozen brine shrimp and flake foods. Breathing and swimming are normal. Eyes are clear and there is no visible sign of external parasites. He is not being harassed by any fish, as he is kept only with Chromis and a very peaceful algae blenny. I've kept clownfish before and I've never had this experience with them. Any information you can provide is very much appreciated. <likely natural... many clown experience a color change by the time they are tow years old (even losing or connecting stripes). Could just as easily be an expression of the change in diet from what it was eating compared to what you are giving. All else sounds fine. No worries, my friend. Anthony>  Thanks! Ben

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