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FAQs about the Diseases of Clownfishes 6

Related FAQs: Clownfish Disease 1, Clownfish Disease 2, Clownfish Disease 3, Clownfish Disease 4, Clownfish Disease 5, 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 DiseaseBrooklynellosis

Aftermath Of A Parasite? Hi. <Hello! Scott F. with you today!> We have 2 clown fish. We have them in a 10 gal tank, with a live rock & live sand. We have noticed a few orange worms, 2 feather dusters, and little spider looking organisms that live in the live rock. <Interesting diversity!> This morning, my husband noticed a white, shrimp-looking thing attached to one of the clown's fin. When the thing let go of the clown, he saw a red dot by the fin, and now he is not using the fin. <Sounds like some kind of parasitic copepod or other nasty creature. Glad it let go...> He is hanging out behind a rock toward the bottom, and staying pretty stationary. He did swim to the top to eat, which is great, but we want to know if he needs any attention to the fin. We also wonder what it was attached to the clown. Thanks, Kristy <I'm glad that the fish is eating. That's always a great sign. It's certainly a good idea to keep the water quality as high as possible in the tank to avoid a potential infection if there is an open wound. If infection does manifest, or if the fish appears to have other difficulties related to the injury, you may want to remove the fish for some medicated dips, or for closer observation. It's not necessary to move the fish (assuming it is not having further difficulties) to subject it to further stress. Keep a close eye on this fish, and be prepared to take action, just in case. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Clown fish troubles Hello, <hello> i have a 55 gal tank w/ rock ,CPR skimmer , wet/dry set up ammonia 0, nitrite 0 ,PH 8.3 , nitrate .20, i had 2 clown fish, hippo tang and a goby. I seem to not be able to keep clown fish (True Percula), i had 1 pair and they turned white and like they went thru 1 million washes, and they were gasping and i put them in a QT but they died, i waited a few months and got another pair, they did good for a few weeks but they turned white and the same thing happened, i have 3 LFS that is saltwater but of course they all said something  different, and they are unreliable, another words , useless unless you want to buy something. My question is , am i getting bad luck with the clowns or do they have a disease that stays in the Main tank. If its something that stays in the tank how do i get rid of it to get another clown eventually. the other fish seem fine, eating and swimming well, can you give me advise please <Ok well first they are getting a disease called Brooklynella hostilis. This is a common disease among wild caught "true perks". since you waited a long time to add another pair, I would say the tank was clean and either you got 2 bad pairs or you did not acclimate properly (they are sensitive to change in ph and salinity). The best thing to do is to qt them for at least a month. If they developed Brooklynella again the best way to get rid of it is by giving the fish a 15 minute freshwater dip. make sure the temp and ph is the same as qt tank) there are many tank raised clowns that are out there for sale now and you would be much better off with a captive raised fish than a wild caught. Good luck MikeH> Thanks. Scott

Maroon Clown in Need Hi, <Hello! Ryan helping you today> I have a sick maroon clown that I need help with. The local dealer, who has been quite helpful and seems knowledgeable, has run out of ideas. <I see> A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the clown looked dirty. His white stripes had turned brownish, as had the rest of his body. Several days later he developed a bump on his body between his tail and second stripe.  The bump is almost like a pimple, but it's pointy and somewhat asymmetric, almost like something is trying to poke out toward the back of his body. <OK> But it doesn't look raw or inflamed. Other than the color and the bump his behavior is pretty normal, though he's shy. He's eating regularly, not scratching or swimming erratically, etc.  He's presently the only fish in the tank.  I've done several water changes and all the levels look good (they did  even before I started the water changes). Any ideas/pointers? I'd greatly appreciate any help. <Body ulcer would be my guess.  These are caused by bacteria or chemical reactions, and are often related to water quality as well.  You mentioned that all the levels look good, is that a change?  It could be a stress response of some kind.  Keep water quality high, and keep him closely monitored.  If this breaks the skin, it will need to be treated.  Please, research quarantine procedures and don't medicate the display tank.  If you do a search on the FAQs, you'll see plenty of success against bacterial infections...time and patience usually win.  Best of luck! Ryan> thanks - JC

Ailing Maroon Clown...pt2 Hi Ryan, <JC> I don't think it's an ulcer. It looks like some kind of parasite bursting through the skin (yuck). It's changed since I last wrote. Right now I would describe it as white, about a mm in diameter and about 2 mm in length. At least that's as much of it as I can see.  <Sounds like an internal bacterial infection...> The area around the protrusion seems a little irritated, but not terribly so. It's hard to tell. <Watch for long stringy feces>  He's staying pretty well hidden, but still coming out to eat.  Any other advice? <Spectrogram in quarantine.  Should be available at most LFS/pet stores.  Follow those directions to the letter, and he should make a nice recovery.  Good luck! Ryan> Thanks again for your quick response! Regards,
John Clyne

- What are these Spots - I've read much of your material covering the disease but remain unsure of a diagnosis.  I hope you can help! I had 2 true perculas who had successfully sorted out the male/female arrangement over the last 6 months.  The female had grown dramatically over the last couple months.  Last weekend, I lost the male who miraculously jumped out of a tiny whole in my aquarium. Despite knowing better, I purchased another (small) clown and introduced him directly to the tank (I know I know).  I did a 20% water change at the time as well after a lengthy acclimation. Now, 4 days later, I noticed today that the female (not the new fish) has lost her appetite, spends most of her time swimming slowly on the bottom or behind a rock (I had assumed this was her "nest").  She also had small white strings or flakes anterior to her dorsal fin (picture attached). I suspect Brooklynella from what I've read here. <Uhh... to my eye, that is Cryptocaryon - ich.> Could the new clown have been an immune carrier? <Likely not immune but a carrier.> I should also note that 8 hours later, these spots/flakes/strings seem to have gone away. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm > Her behavior remains the same. I'm concerned that I wont be able to treat her until Friday when the stores all reopen after Thanksgiving.  What do you think? <I'd try to catch her and perform a pH-adjusted, freshwater dip... and then tomorrow head out and get the supplies for a quarantine tank. You're going to need them.> Many thanks,
<Cheers, J -- >

- What is This on my Clownfish? - Hi Crew, I have a clownfish that (I think) has some type of parasite or fungus.  I have attached a picture to hopefully assist with diagnosis.  This is a single spot, not extremely large but still much larger than Cryptocaryon. Although it might be difficult to tell from the picture, this white spot protrudes approximately 2mm from near the rear dorsal fin attachment area. I have had this clownfish in my QT for two weeks and with copper for the last week.  The copper was due to a minor ich outbreak and all white spots have dropped from the other fish within about 1-2 days of adding the copper. I also dosed with CLOUT for three days.  I initially thought this protrusion on the clownfish to be a parasite but, considering the constant copper levels in the QT, I am not very confident that this is correct.  There does appear to be a light slime coating or spider web-like coating over the protrusion so possible this is a fungus? <Difficult to tell exactly from the photo - when things like this happen in 'onesies' I usually blame it on Lymphocystis, but the slime description leads me to believe it is something else. For now, I'd run activated carbon to remove the copper as clownfish are sensitive to it, and quarantine this fish for one more week, keeping an eye on that spot. If nothing seems to change, and the fish is otherwise doing well, I'd go ahead and place it in the main tank... chances are good that it was Lymphocystis. If things get worse, I would treat it as a fungus, but would hold off on this until things don't seem to be headed down hill.> Salinity = 1.0235 SG, Ammonia = 0 PPM, Nitrite = 0 PPM, Nitrate = 20 PPM, Temp = 81 Degrees F, CuSO4 (Copper Safe / chelated) dosing: 1.5 PPM Cu++. Water changes are approx every 3-4 days @ ~20%. Please assist with a diagnosis and recommend treatment.  Thank you, -Greg <Cheers, J -- >

Clownfish concern Hi there bob <Hello Steve>     I have just one quick question, One of my ocellaris clowns has developed three or four brownish dots on the back region of her right side.   Could this be a problem??? <Could be... but likely not... are there any other organisms showing signs of trouble in the system? Does your water quality check out?>   She is relatively young so I thought that it may just be natural pigmentation, as ocellaris clowns tend to become a little darker over time.   Thank you for your time, and have a great day. Steve <I agree with your observation, speculation. If it were me/mine I'd just hold off and keep an eye on the fish. Likely the color will fade out with growth/age, time. 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>

Saving A Clown... First of all, I would like to thank all of you in advance for all the help that you have given to all of us out there... <You're quite welcome! That's what this site is all about! Scott F. at your service today> Anyhow, on to the questions!! First question.   I currently have a Clarki Clown who isn't having a very good time. Unfortunately, I feel that I may have to euthanize him due to his condition, but here goes the story.  Initially, I started to notice that one of his eyes was getting cloudy.  I did a little investigation, and found very little that described this condition.  It wasn't until I started to notice that both of his eyes were starting to bulge out a bit in comparison to my other Clarki Clown, and his breathing rate was increased.  It was at this point that I suspected pop-eye and removed him from the main tank, and began treating him with Maracyn in the hospital tank.  After a week of this treatment, I did not see any noticeable, positive improvement, just the reverse.  Now he is exhibiting severe signs of dropsy.  He is swollen, and his scales are pine coned.  He is having difficulty maintaining a proper swim attitude, and is fighting a bit to stay swimming horizontal, rather than vertical- tail up, head down.  I currently am treating him with Kanamycin (spelling??) and have been so for 3 days now.  I am not too optimistic on his outcome, as he is not eating at all.  So I guess the question is as follows.  Is it even worth the effort to help treat him, and if so am I even treating him with the correct medication?  My assumption is that he will pass away, but I do wish to give him every fighting chance possible. <I commend you on your tenacity...If it were me- I'd fight to the death...Do all you can to save him. If this, is indeed "dropsy", your best hope is to keep treating with antibiotics and to optimize after conditions. Do use the disease resources on the WWM site to make sure that this is what you're dealing with...> Second question: I currently have a RO system that I use to mix my salt with for my tank. I am interested in a less wasteful process to create excellent quality water for my tank.  I have read about the possibilities of DI water, and have looked at the DI units (Kati/Ani) that you have referenced in some of your FAQs. <They are extremely efficient!> Now, after reading a bit more, I realized that I am not exactly doing the best thing with my RO system because I do not aerate the water prior to use, nor heat it, but given the amount that I change vs. tank size, the heater thing is a bit low on the priority list (5 gallon change per week on a 135 gallon tank).  If I stay with the RO unit, what type of buffering agent would you recommend for this water? <You can use one of the many commercially available buffers on the market to accomplish this. SeaChem and Aquarium Systems make excellent products...> The one thing that I have not noticed in the FAQs is what the overall preference is to use, RO or DI.  RO wastes a lot of water (although the manufacturer of my unit "claims" they have a zero waste upgrade unit that apparently forces the waste water into your hot water supply), and supposedly DI wastes nothing.  Can just straight DI water be used safely in a reef tank without any other procedures (aside from mixing salt -Reef Crystals)?   <Not in my opinion...You still want to buffer it and aerate before use...There is little, if any general hardness, so the water is, for want of a better term "unstable"...> Is it also safe to use for pets and general household use? (I already assume this is so but doesn't hurt to ask)  If DI is what you would recommend, what kind of unit as well. <I'm not aware of any problems, with the exception of a low mineral content...Consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns> Would an add on DI unit (like the Kent Marine DI unit) be sufficient to complete my RO unit (if I decide to go for that waste free thing)?? <Well, sure...But if it were me, and I were dead set on DI water, I'd invest in the Kati/Ani unit and be done with it!> I again thank you for your time, and keep up the good work - it has definitely saved me and my aquarium.   Andy <Glad to hear that, Andy! Hope things work out for your clown! Regards, Scott F>

Clown W/ Fin Rot Hi, I recently purchased a GSM Clown fish.  All Looks good w/ the fish except a little fin rot on his tail fin (growing by the hour).  He is in a 10 gal Q-tank.  I recently treated a flame w/ formalin in the tank.  I replaced all the water in the tank and got all the water I could out of the sponge filter.  I was unaware clowns were sensitive to  formalin.  I don't know if this is causing the fin rot, or if I should treat with something else. <I have found the product MelaFix to work great it is all natural and works fast. Also make sure your ph alk etc. are all in check. poor water quality can cause fin rot.> Also, how long (minimum) do you quarantine clown fish? <minimum 3 weeks hope this helps Mike H>

This Clown Isn't Funny (Sick Clownfish?)  Hi, I would like to start by saying, Thank you for being here.  <We're happy to be here! Scott F. with you today!>  Now as for the reason that I am writing. I am very new to marine fish keeping. I have set-up my first saltwater tank and am very unaware of the diseases of saltwater fish. My tank has cycled for 8 weeks now and all of the levels are acceptable. My problem is that I purchased a Maroon clown fish and after 5 days of being in my tank he has a white "coating" on his side. It almost appears to be slime. It has not affected his breathing or appetite.  <That's good that he's eating...>  The "coating" was not there when I left at 7a.m. this morning, but when I returned at 4 p.m. it had developed. It is only on one side and doesn't appear to be near his gills, only to the tail-end of him. He also has a bit of the film on one fin. Can you please help me with a diagnosis and a solution, please.  <Well, there are a few possibilities, ranging from extremely serious to relatively mild. Of immediate concern is the possibility that this may be the dreaded Brooklynella hostilis, a virulent protozoan infection. Symptoms are a thick coat of whitish mucus, rapid respiration. loss of appetite, gasping, and faded body color. I think that you need to observe him carefully, and be prepared to take action if things progress. The best treatment for this malady, IMO, is to remove him from the display tank and give him a 10-15 minute freshwater dip, then place him in a separate "hospital tank" for continued observation, and possible treatment with a formalin-based product. Before embarking on this treatment course, or any treatment, confirm that this is what you're dealing with. Use the disease FAQs on the WWM site to confirm this.>  I don't want to lose him. He was also swimming near the top of the water, but has went back down near to bottom, now. I have suspicions that he is not tank raised. I bought him from a pet store as soon as he was delivered to the store and had little information about him.  <Wild-caught clowns are usually more likely to contract Brooklynella, so you might want to operate under the assumption that this may be what you're dealing with.>  However, he seems scared and took awhile to "come around". By that, I mean that when I put him in the tank he stayed hidden for the first day, but eventually came out. Any help that you could give would be appreciated. Please respond as quickly as possible.  Thank You, Leah  <Well, Leah, it's impossible for me to be 100% certain from here, but your fish is at least displaying some of the signs of a very serious illness. I suppose you could observe longer while studying the possible diseases, as opposed to rushing into a potentially stressful course of treatment. Other possibilities are forms of fungal maladies, which are a lot less serious, but require treatment nonetheless...Do read up on the WWM disease FAQs to confirm what you're dealing with, and seek help from a local fish store or hobbyist if you are uncertain as to what this is. With quick, decisive action, the fish can make a complete recovery. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

This Clown Isn't Funny (Pt. 2) Hello, again. <Hi there! Scott F. with you again today!> After reading through page after page on the internet about such diseases as Brooklynella and Amyloodinium I still could find no real match for this problem.  So. I bagged him up and we went to the pet store for a diagnosis.  I was told that it was a fungus and he recommended "Revive" (which I found out later that it is now being sold as Rally and wonder about the shelf life of this product). <I've heard of the product...Not one that I've used...>   I treated the fish--not in a quarantine tank, though, didn't know I needed one until later on, but I will set one up for future cases---his coating/slime now seems to be "peeling'" away. <Yikes!> By this, I mean that it is detaching from the body and is hanging loosely in "strings".  My LFS said that I could remove the fish and put it into a small container and gently rub the fish to finish taking off the remaining slime.  What is your opinion of this? <Handling a fish in this manner is not something that I would do...> He also said that I could wait and the medicine would eventually completely cure it.  He is still eating well and doesn't seem to be affected by this.  His breathing is still normal and aside from being a little grumpy ( as I have found this to be a "norm" as well) he is doing just fine.  I hope so, that is.  What do you think of the information that I was given.  I am new to this and am leery to trust someone that gains to profit from their advice and recommendations. (The pet store)  Thank You again, Leah <Well, the LFS can be a great ally in your hobby endeavors, so I wouldn't automatically discount any advice that they give you. That being said, I m not a fan of the so-called "reef-safe" "medications", which I believe this product is marketed as. In some cases, a number of these products have turned out to be nothing more than an irritant, which causes the fish to slough off body slime in the hope of eradicating infections. If the fish is recovering, that's the most important thing! In the end, there is no substitute for having the animal evaluated locally, and proper treatment utilized. Just keep learning and studying! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

How The Clown Got His Groove Back! Hi, just wanted to say Thank you, Thank you and Thank you! <You're welcome, you're welcome, you're welcome! Glad we could be here to help> It's now 7 days since my first email and my fishy friend is doing just fine. We're both happy and smiling' (yes, I think he's actually smiling!) Thank you guys so much for being here and I sincerely appreciate the time and effort that you put into helping people. <That's what this site is all about! I'm very lucky to work with some terrific people who really enjoy helping their fellow hobbyists!> Here's a pic of my happy. healthy babe along with his buddy. <I love happy endings! Regards, Scott F>

Black Clownfish 11/4/03  Hi to everyone at WWM!  <howdy!>  I have a question which has been plaguing me over the last week or so regarding my clownfish. Here goes:  He is a black and white ocellaris I believe - the LFS called him a Darwin clown which already brings me to another question: can these fish have yellow pectoral fins as juveniles?  <yes... the original source was likely from colonies in Australia. A lovely fish. Now bred commercially by ORA (USA) and TMC (UK)>  Anyway back to the trouble at hand, I treated him for what I believed was a parasitic infection (flicking and scraping) which seemed to go well but now he has not what I would immediately guess as Popeye as the eyes don't seem abnormally obtrusive but I really have no idea what it is.  <do consider adding Epsom salts to the water to relieve this swelling... much in our archives on this topic if you care to browse with a keyword search using the google tool from our home page (site specific). For treatment... add 1 Tbs. of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) per 10 gall of water and repeat with a half dose 3 days later. Swelling will subside within days if it works>  When I got him (about 3-4 weeks ago) he had eyes that couldn't be easily distinguished from the black area of his head, now they're as bright as bright can be (not the eyes themselves more like the sockets - they're bright yellow.) Any ideas on what it could be?  <simply exophthalmia... the cause of which remains to be seen. Perhaps a bacterial infection here>  Everything else seems fine (including water parameters) although he is a little shy and skittish of late. Any advice you could offer me will be very much appreciated. Oh one other thing on the medication front - I live in Australia and the most (sometimes only) available meds are products made from Waterlife (Waterlife.co.uk). I have looked everywhere (including the accompanying leaflets) but cannot find the active ingredients they contain. If you have any ideas on this I'd like to hear them because I'm not overtly in favour of sticking unknown chemicals in any of my tanks.  <agreed. Rest assured that magnesium salts recommended above are already in your sea salt and at worst, simply will harden your water a little more. A safe treatment>  Once again your site is a wealth of information and I thank you so much for all the work you guys do in helping us novices attempt to succeed in such a complicated world. Regards, Erica  <wishing you the best, my friend. Do see if you can buy an old copy of the "Handbook of Fish Diseases" by Dieter Untergasser (TFH press). It is an inexpensive and very easy to read fish disease book. And excellent reference to keep on hand with medicines and home remedies mentioned alike in it. Anthony>

"Fin"ished Fins on Clownfish? >Hello, >>Hello. >I have a tank with two clown fishes (the orange kind that have 3 white stripes and black borders on the edges of the side fins + tail, not sure what the name is for that type..).  P >>Not helpful, but maybe Amphiprion ocellaris or A. percula perchance? >Part of the larger one's left side fin (Not sure what you call those, either) has disappeared.   >>Pectoral fin. >Normally, they look Orange, with a black border running along the outside edge, surrounded by a clear outside edge.   *All* of the clear outside edge is gone on the left fin, as well as a good deal of the black border.  It doesn't look like it was Bitten off by the other fish, because it's still very "smooth" along the edge.   It looks like maybe it just rotted away?   >>Well, does it look as though it's rotting away?  If so, I'd call it "fin rot" (I'm not the one who made that up, by the way).  If the edge is clean (as opposed to milky/fungus-y looking), then I would look to an outside non-microbial culprit.  If fin rot, search our site, you may need to treat with antibiotics.  If so, I prefer Spectrogram.  Avoid Melafix, it's Melabroken. >Any idea what could cause this?    >>Lots of things, between microbes and poor water quality (lack of water changes, for instance), assuming this is fin rot. >I've had Old Man for about 3 years now and I'm very concerned.  Thank you so much for any help, Chris Mulhearn >>Your description of the condition is a bit vague, so I'm going with either the fin rot or someone's nipped him.  In any event, DON'T treat him in the display tank, you'll need a hospital tank for him.  15-20 gallons should suffice, and it doesn't have to be an actual aquarium, it can be any chemically inert (non-metallic/painted) container that is water-tight.  Heat and filter, with water on hand for water changes.  Marina

"Fin"ished Fins on Clownfish? Not Getting Any Better  >OK the situation on the clownfish with the left fin disappearing has worsened. Just behind and slightly above that disappearing fin, two small white dots have appeared, and also a much larger growth that seems almost like a wart of some kind. This "wart" seems to be clear, and if I look really closely, I THINK this clear wart is surrounding a little red speck of some kind.  >>This is a rather difficult to description to go by, mate.  >That's up for debate. So now the poor old guy is lying down in the sand on the corner of the tank. He did that a long time ago when he had pop-eye and survived, so at least he's a fighter!  This fish means a lot to me and if you could give me any tips on what might be happening I'd really appreciate it. Thanks so much for any help!! -Chris  >>Boy, I am at a loss here, "clear" warts, disappearing fins may or may not be fin rot.. the white "dots" may or may not be ich. I think it's time, if you haven't already, to do a search on our site for Brooklynellosis (though this presentation doesn't exactly "scream" Brooklynellosis. I've discovered a site that's dedicated to professionals, but I'm going to head you in that direction because I haven't come up with any other answers. The site is http://www.fishdisease.net/ If there are any other symptoms you can relay, information on water quality, etc., I may be of more help, but this serious lack of information really limits us. Marina

"Fin"ished Fins on Clownfish? More Info. (III)  >Here's some tank information. It's 10 gallons, for one. I had just recently done a complete water change, after it had not been changed for a LONG time (neglected all summer). The problem developed after I did the water change.  >>Ah.. you know, I hate to admit it but in the beginning, I ended up killing quite a few fish doing this.  >Usually the tank is completely bare except for a few plastic flowers (no sand, no gravel, no nothing, and they've been fine for years).  >>3+ if I recollect, yes?  >This time I used that bag of sand and water you can get at PETCO/etc, it's supposed to have "live bacteria cultures" that help get your tank's life cycle in order quickly.  >>Uh oh..  >I used to always just use "Stress-Zyme", and kept adding it weekly until I noticed the ammonia and nitrite levels drop.  >>I know you say they've been fine for years like this, but this is not the "accepted" method of ammonia/nitrogenous waste control. I hate to say this, but this combination of factors may very well have been enough to cause these problems.  >Now back to the clear wart. Do you know what a wart is?  >>Yes, I think I do (though I've never had them..).  >Well picture one, only about 1mm in diameter, and a .5mm tall, and clear! And growing on the side of my clown fish, just slightly above and behind the left fin. I don't know how else to describe it, or what information you feel is lacking from that description.  >>Other behavior, your actual water parameters, filtration.. this additional information you've given me helps explain the "why's" of it pretty well, unfortunately I'm at a loss as to the "clear wart" bit, I've never seen anything quite like that. Would "blister" be another suitable descriptor?  >Then there are two very white dots with a powdery appearance, much smaller than the wart, growing around it. Does that sound like ANYTHING you have ever seen?  >>Yes, the dots could be something called Lymphocystis (do a Google search for images), or velvet, though velvet hits hard and FAST, you would definitely see other signs; heavy, labored breathing, a dusty appearance over the fish's body. Lymphocystis is a viral disease for which there is no cure, but it's not commonly known to really DO much of anything except not look so nice. It tends to rectify itself.  >Thank you so much for any help!!!! I appreciate it a lot. -Chris Mulhearn  >>I'm really sorry I don't have more to offer, this wart thing has me rather stumped. Here's a link to a pdf file on Lymphocystis I found on http://www.fishdisease.net/ (you may need to download the file, but I just did and it's safe.. at least via Linux.)  http://www.enaca.org/Health/DiseaseLibrary/LymphocystisDis.pdf  Marina 

"Fin"ished Fins on Clown IV  >By the way, "blister" would be a good description. It's not quite as smooth as a blister on the surface, but definitely has that clear, bubbly appearance. So Blister it is!  Ok about the waste. Stress-Zyme is used to get the biological filter established.  >>That is its purported use, I've found it to be not as useful as purported.  >Once established, this biological activity processes Ammonia into Nitrite and Nitrite into Nitrate.  >>Yes, I am intimately familiar with the oxidation of ammonia (a.k.a. the nitrogen cycle, or nitrification).  >What, then, is that not the "accepted" way of controlling nitrogenous/ammonia waste?  >>You're using a product to achieve your biological filtration instead of setting up and maintaining your own in situ cultures of bacteria. By doing this your fish are continuously exposed to spikes of ammonia and nitrite, this is HIGHLY stressful my friend, and quite simply not the best in husbandry techniques. If you are utilizing a biological filter that is properly sized and set up, then you should not only NOT require the use of such a product, but post water changes you would not see these spikes of ammonia and nitrite.  >I'd prefer to do it the right way and avoid situations like this in the future...  >>I strongly suggest, if you don't already, getting one or two books that will address good means of achieving basic biological filtration. The first would be "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist", by Bob Fenner. Initial price compared to Stress-zyme may seem high, but over these past couple of years I have a feeling you've exceeded this initial cost. It really is a very good book, and can be found in hardcover edition as well.  >Thanks a lot by the way. I picked up some Stress-Coat (I didn't have any when I did the water change, I usually use it religiously. I bet hooking him around w/ the net hurt his slime-coat and gave the opportunity for all this disease) and a full spectrum antibiotic, I figured if I don't know what it is I should try anything..  >>At first that seems like sound reasoning, but now that antibiotics are completely indiscriminate in what bacteria they kill. So, you basically just paid to kill whatever viable may have been in the Stress-zyme (though honestly I'm quite incredulous, having found no real use for this product).  >Thanks again. -Chris  >>I can find no descriptions for "blister" in any fish disease charts I have access to. Wart nets little as well. My last resort suggestion is to try to get the best photo of this you possibly can, in the meantime make sure your parameters are pristine (near sea water--NSW), and give the animal the best nutrition you can. Selcon is an EXCELLENT marine feed supplement, and quite appropriate in this case (should be being used anyway). Marina

Copepods attacking my fish??? 10/18/03 WWM crew,   <cheers> I had bought a pair of perculas and placed them in a 20 gal quarantine tank.  in the tank there were just a few rocks for hiding.  they showed signs of ich, were treated with formalin/malachite green (1drop per gal every day for five days).  cleared up after that.  but while waiting out the parasites life cycle they seemed to be hit with another round.   <FWIW, daily water changes from the bottom of the aquarium for 8 consecutive days can break this life cycle even without meds (removes larval cysts).> so I re- administered the formalin, but it didn't seem to help.  upon inspecting the tank I found lots of harpacticiods, some amphipods, and a few worms.  in the morning I found them dead, swarmed with harpacticiods, but nothing else.   could they have been attacking the clowns while the fish were still alive???   <nope... merely scavengers> I noticed a similar situation developing in my main tank as well.  I'm at somewhat of a loss as to what to do.   <enjoy them... they are desirable natural plankton and most aquarists don't have nearly enough of them. They are unrelated to your clowns pathology> Any help would be very appreciated.  Thank you in advance.   Kurt Petty
<best regards, Anthony>

- What is This? - Hey WWM, I need some help. I have an A. Ocellaris clownfish that has something on his right side that sort of looks like a large "zit".  I'm not sure if it is a wound or something growing. A picture is attached so you can see what it looks like. <My guess is that spot is probably Lymphocystis, a growth that is viral in nature.> It's the best picture that I could get of it. <Is good enough.> I'm wondering if you know what it is and what I should do for it. <There's not really much you can do, but lymph does typically go away on its own... so no worries about that. Do keep a close eye on the fish in your tank to make sure this isn't something else - look out for lots of little white spots, like the fish have been salted. I don't want to scare you as I feel pretty confident about my diagnosis, but you need to always be on the watch.> Thank you very much.
<Cheers, J -- >

Clownfish Disease >Hi, I could not find this problem on the net, and don't know much about fish disease.  I have two False Perculas which host in a Heteractis malu. This afternoon I noticed that one of them has gone kind of whitish, and slightly transparent.  Very noticeable against the other one which still has normal coloring. I thought perhaps it is marine velvet, but even through a magnifying glass cannot see anything on the skin. I don't even know if it is something I should be worried about. Nothing new has been added to the tank for several months, other then a rock with some zooanthids about a week ago.  At this stage the fish is feeding and behaving normally. Hope you can help.  Cheers >>Yes, I think so.  This sounds like the classic Brooklynellosis.  Please see this link, as well as searching our site more thoroughly.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brooklynellosisart.htm Marina

Clownfish Disease - Part II, Halloween Clowns 10/8/03 >Thanks for that, I checked the link, very good info.  Anyhow, I got up the next morning, charged off to the aquarium expecting to see a very sick, or dead clownfish, and big surprise, everybody is back to normal, happy as. >>Well what the..? >They've been fine since, I just don't know what happened. It was real strange, just like the color drained right out of the fish, even the edge of its eyeballs. The fish was transparent, you could see right through it. >>The ENTIRE fish?  <insert googley eyes here> >There was still color, but very faded. Real strange. Anyhow, one of life's little mysteries perhaps?  Main thing is, all's well that ends well. They are a lovely pair with personality, it would have been really hard to lose one of them.  Cheers, Alastair >>Yes, it is a mystery.. it's as though you've got the ghost clowns or something.. Halloween clowns!  Glad it's sorted.  Marina

Sick Clowns >Hello again crew!   >>Hello, Marina here. >As always, thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge!  I have a pair of true perculas.  About a week ago, the larger one had ulcers and white slimy fluff accumulating on her "chin".   >>Already sounding like Brooklynellosis. >I treated her by soaking her food in erythromycin, assuming it was of a bacterial nature from scuffling and not fungal (red ulcers was my clue).  I performed small daily water changes in case any left-overs escaped into the tank (highly doubtful), as I know dilution is the solution to pollution.  Anyway, she has recovered fully, but I have begun to notice her feces has become clear in some parts and very stringy.   >>Which would indicate to me that she has not recovered fully, as white feces can be a good indicator of bacterial infection.  If the erythromycin were effective, this wouldn't be the case, eh?  Spectrogram would be my first choice of antibiotic, wide spectrum. >Could this be intestinal parasites or a side effect of the erythromycin?  The other clown is starting to get the same symptoms unfortunately. :( >>Could be, but I'm looking more to a continuation of the original problem.  I would place both in a hospital system and begin treating with Spectrogram, but first do look into this link and search our site regarding Brooklynellosis/Brooklynella http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brooklynellosisart.htm  If this seems to fit this disease, treat accordingly.  If not, treat it as a bacterial infection and start them on the Spectrogram.   >If intestinal parasites, should I treat, because I heard that treatment for intestinal worms can be more detrimental than having them live symbiotically with the host--true?!   >>I haven't read or heard that, but I have read that intestinal parasitic infection can, at times, be difficult to determine with much accuracy. >Frankly, I don't like to use meds if I don't have to.  If I absolutely have to, I'd like to use something I can feed if possible.  Overall, she seems quite plump and healthy, never leaving her friend's side and eating like a pig.  Tank stats:   45 gallon, 2 X 96W PC, 1.024 SG, O ammonia, 0 nitrite, 10-20 nitrates, dKH 11, pH 8.4, 4.5 inches aragonite, 55 lbs live rock with the pair of perculas, a green mandarin, CBS, peppermint shrimp, featherduster, 4" diameter bubble tip, some blue legged hermits and Astraea snails.  Thanks so much in advance for your help!  --Danny >>Do check the link, and search the site as I've outlined, if you feel this is not Brooklynellosis-related, then consider bacterial infection instead, treat accordingly (as I said, I prefer Spectrogram, in part because I saw it used with great success at a local public aquarium I worked at for a short time).  Marina

Sick Clowns Part II >Hi again crew!   >>Hello again, Marina again. >I am treating my clowns for Brooklynellosis per Marina's advice.  My new concern is that one of my clowns has a symbiotic relationship with my bubble tip anemone.  Should I be concerned that she may spread infection, if at all even possible, to my anemone?   >>Highly unlikely that the clown will spread the infection to the anemone, but DO be sure that you're treating the clown in its own hospital/quarantine system, ok? >Other life forms (green mandarin and neon goby) seem quite unaffected by this recent dilemma.  I have not read any FAQ's if spreading bacteria, intestinal worms, or parasites is possible to an anemone?   >>VERY unlikely that the commonly seen maladies affecting vertebrates would spread to invertebrates, so not to worry there.  What would create a problem would be if you were to medicate the entire system, truly.  I'm glad none of the other fish are affected, though DO watch them (especially for those similar symptoms of the stringy, white feces).  Also, if I didn't mention it before, it will do your clown(s) (all the fish, actually) to get some Selcon and soak a few feedings a week in this supplement, as nutrition will play a big role in helping them "come back" as well as keep their immune systems up to par.  Also, be sure to keep that water quality as near to seawater pristine as possible. >Please advise!   If so, hoping not, what should I do?  As always, thank you for your help.  Danny >>Really, don't worry about the anemone picking it up.  Hope your clowns recover fully.  Marina

- Ocellaris Clown Problems - Jason's Answer Hi, I have had more than my fair share of problems with Ocellaris clowns lately. <Do tell...> I kept these guys in the past and they were never any trouble, but I'm not sure what is causing the problem now.  I decided to buy 2 Ocellaris clowns for my 4 month old 55gallon aquarium.  Everything's been great in there with 1 damsel enjoying the place to himself.  I went to my LFS, but noticed the clowns there seemed to be stricken with Brooklynella.  I decided not to buy there, and instead, ordered them online. <Good call.> The fish arrived promptly and appeared to be in great health.  I placed them into my quarantine tank after following the acclimation guides and all seemed fine.  The next day, I noticed 1 of the fish seemed to breathing heavier and was hanging around the bottom of the tank in one of the corners.  His friend was fine, swimming all over the place, normal breathing, etc.  I decided to keep an eye on him.  The next day, he was worse, exhibiting Brooklynella-like symptoms, so I treated the QT with Formalin.  Despite all of this, I lost the fish.  The other one still seemed fine.  I then got in touch with the company I ordered them from and they decided to send a replacement pair.  In the meantime, I noticed the other fish seemed to be ailing as well, not with Brooklynella, but with a bacteria-like infection.  I know this comes from things like poor water quality, but the fish's respiration rate was also up and I noticed that he had white feces trailing from him.  I had been performing daily water exchanges of 25-50% on the QT, but the ammonia always ran around .02-.03. <Need to up the percentage water change... also pay close attention to pH as the toxicity of ammonia will vary with pH.> This may be what caused the problem for the other clown. <Quite possible, or at least exacerbated the problems.> Anyways, so the replacement pair came in and were acclimated to the QT, but they died within 2-3 hours.  I have been treating the QT with a Triple-Sulfa medication that is supposed to be effective against bacteria.  The remaining fish is about the same: respiration higher than normal, but not gasping, still has the white trailing feces and he won't eat.  He hasn't eaten in about 3 days.  What is going on with these clowns? <Perhaps just a bad source... I would perhaps try your online source one more time, if you can procure tank raised livestock.> I have heard similar stories from other people having trouble with clowns of late. <Have not heard these rumors myself, but will file this and keep an eye out for trends - no fun if so.> Am I medicating my current clown ok or should I try something else? <I'd really work on the water quality first, then look more into what is really going on there - many times what looks to be a disease/bacteria problem is really reactions to water quality and stress issues so start there. If you > I really don't want to lose him. <I don't want you to either... do let us know how things progress.> Thanks,  Katie <Cheers, J -- >

Ocellaris Deaths - Marina's Answer >Hi, I have had more than my fair share of problems with Ocellaris clowns lately.  I kept these guys in the past and they were never any trouble, but I'm not sure what is causing the problem now.  I decided to buy 2 Ocellaris clowns for my 4 month old 55 gallon aquarium.  Everything's been great in there with 1 damsel enjoying the place to himself.  I went to my LFS, but noticed the clowns there seemed to be stricken with Brooklynella.  I decided not to buy there, and instead, ordered them online.  The fish arrived promptly and appeared to be in great health.  I placed them into my quarantine tank after following the acclimation guides and all seemed fine.  The next day, I noticed 1 of the fish seemed to breathing heavier and was hanging around the bottom of the tank in one of the corners.  His friend was fine, swimming all over the place, normal breathing, etc.  I decided to keep an eye on him.  The next day, he was worse, exhibiting Brooklynella-like symptoms, so I treated the QT with Formalin.  Despite all of this, I lost the fish.  The other one still seemed fine.  I then got in touch with the company I ordered them from and they decided to send a replacement pair.  In the meantime, I noticed the other fish seemed to be ailing as well, not with Brooklynella, but with a bacteria-like infection.  I know this comes from things like poor water quality, but the fish's respiration rate was also up and I noticed that he had white feces trailing from him.  I had been performing daily water exchanges of 25-50% on the QT, but the ammonia always ran around .02-.03.  This may be what caused the problem for the other clown.   >>Stressful, but shouldn't have been the root cause of death. >Anyways, so the replacement pair came in and were acclimated to the QT, but they died within 2-3 hours.   >>Now *that's* a problem. >I have been treating the QT with a Triple-Sulfa medication that is supposed to be effective against bacteria.  The remaining fish is about the same: respiration higher than normal, but not gasping, still has the white trailing feces and he won't eat.  He hasn't eaten in about 3 days.  What is going on with these clowns?  I have heard similar stories from other people having trouble with clowns of late.  Am I medicating my current clown ok or should I try something else?  I really don't want to lose him.   Thanks, Katie >>I can't tell you exactly what's going on, though the white feces would indicate to me that the fish is suffering a bacterial infection.  I would definitely try something else.  I would lower the salinity just a bit, mostly to help with oxygen saturation, to around 1.017 or so.  Then I would use Spectrogram for a week (assuming he sticks with us that long!).  Your water changes, your testing, everything else you're doing seems to be spot on, so I can't tell you you've been making any mistakes in those areas.  Lastly, do go through our clownfish disease FAQ's, from there you may be able to glean additional information or insight.  Best of luck to you and the fish.  Marina

- Percula(iar) Behavior - I bought two Ocellaris Perculas a few days ago.  One is doing great, getting around and eating, the other it's mouth appears to be open. Never closing or moving. What could this be? <Not sure... could be a genetic defect, could be a lot of things... does it eat?> I tried to look through all your articles, but there are so many and I had no idea where to start. Please help. <Not sure that I really can...> He/she appears to eat, but still his mouth never shuts.  Is this a sign that he will not survive? <Well... I'd say eating is a good place to start - if it's eating, then its survival chances are much better.> What can I do to help him out if anything? <I'd just let it be for now - not sure at all there is anything you can 'do' to deal with this other than continue your routine and get used to this fish with its open mouth.> Thank you for your time and help.  Cori & Tom <Cheers, J -- >

- Fish Behavior - I recently received a shipment of cleaner/janitors and fish from Saltwaterfish.com All the fish and inverts were patiently acclimated and all are doing fine. One fish was a maroon striped clown-  he seems happy, but I'm worried because he seems to be having a lot of trouble staying afloat. Seems to be a poor swimmer and seems to be struggling to stay off the bottom... this is causing some minor harassment by even little crabs and shrimp. Is this normal behavior for this kind of fish? <No.> Should I be worried? <Yes... I'd be in contact with the folks you bought it from.> I don't currently have a Q/T to move him to... <Hmm...would be wise to spend this cash soon - lack of quarantine will cost much more in the long run.> Please advise.  thank you, Mark <Cheers, J -- >

- Clownfish, Obstruction in its Mouth - I have a yellow stripe maroon clownfish with what appears to be a small shell or piece of coral coming out of her mouth. I thought she might be carrying it around to remove it from the anemone's area, but when I went to feed her she was able to eat without the item leaving her mouth area. What is it? <I really don't know.> A shell stuck in her mouth region or some fungus? <Could be either one, but you'll need to get the fish out of the water and potentially go after this item with some tweezers to be certain.> Thanks, Jason <Cheers, J -- >

- Sick Ocellaris - Hi, 3 days ago, I received 2 False Perculas from an online store.  2 days later, I noticed that one of the fish didn't look well; He/She had white tufts along his/her lateral line, heavy respiration (90 breaths per minute) and a loss of appetite.  I had the 2 clowns in my quarantine tank to begin with, but figured that the sick clown might be ill with Brooklynella.  I wasn't able to begin treatment with Formalin until today.  I also noticed that the fish's fins are looking ragged.  My questions are: 1). do you think I made the correct diagnosis? <Possibly... is the more frequent issue with clownfish.> 2). does my fish stand any chance of survival? <I always like to take the positive side on these things - provided it's not upside down in the corner, I always think there's a chance.> The 2nd clown hasn't shown any sign of illness whatsoever, but I am pretty worried about the other one. <Well... keep up the water changes in quarantine - make sure that water has no ammonia/nitrite, and continue on.> This is my first time ordering online and aside from the sick clown, I rather enjoyed the experience. Thanks, Kate
<Cheers, J -- >

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