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FAQs about the Diseases of Clownfishes 7

Related FAQs: Clownfish Disease 1, Clownfish Disease 2, Clownfish Disease 3, Clownfish Disease 4, Clownfish Disease 5, Clownfish Disease 6, 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 17Clownfish 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

Sick Clown (5/24/04) Hello, my black + white striped percula is very sick. He won't eat and he can't stay straight when not swimming and he tips over. He has a swollen right eye and is staying at the bottom. Can you please tell me what's wrong or what I can do, Thanks <Based on this description alone, it sounds like a bacterial infection, possibly superimposed on a parasitic infestation. You need to put him in a hospital tank. I'd suggest you consider starting a broad-spectrum antibiotic in there. You may need to treat for parasites as well. Read more about these by searching the WWM disease archives. Hope this helps. Steve Allen.> 

Cloudy eye... Maroon Clown hi i have a problem with my female maroon clown she has a clear bubble like thing over her left eye only, could you please give me some info on it?.............  please help........    thanks <Some sort of involvement, opacity on this Clown's eyes... likely secondary, resultant from a physical trauma like rough netting rubbing against them or a bump... Are other fishes similarly afflicted? Do check, optimize your water quality, improve nutrition (soaking foods in a vitamin mixture like Selcon) and do your best to reduce stress (be on the lookout for other organism's negative interaction and do NOT add any more livestock) and this should clear up in a few weeks time. Bob Fenner>

Clown Going Down, Or Just Hanging Around? (Sick Clown?) Attached is a recent picture of my 2 year old (female) Maroon Clown.  She's been quite happy until recently (last spawn approximately 5 days ago) in our 75G tank. I recently purchased a "clean up crew" to help knock down a hair algae battle I've been having.  The crew was added on Wednesday and consisted of the following items 100 Turbo Snail [Astraea], 100 Sm Blueleg Hermit, 100 Nassarius Snail, 12 Cerith Snail and 2 Emerald Crabs.  I also added two Lettuce Nudibranch. <Let's hope that they can help out!> Today, I noticed that both the female (picture) and the male clown are developing "light" spots on their skin.  Checked all water parameters and they seem fine (sg=1.024,nitrate < .5, nitrite = 0, ammonia = 0, ph=8.2). Without being sure of the cause, I went ahead and started running carbon this evening, but was hoping that you might have a better diagnosis. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance. Sean <Well, Sean, there is nothing wrong with running carbon or other chemical filtration media (like Poly Filter) on a continuous basis. As long as they are replaced regularly, your system will benefit from their use. As far as the clown is concerned, it's hard to tell from the picture what this is. Could even be some type of pigment migration or a minor abrasion. If the fish is in apparent distress (i.e.; heavy breathing, scratching, sloughing off mucus or body slime, laying on the bottom, refusing food, etc.), then you may be dealing with a potentially serious parasitic problem, such as Brooklynella or Amyloodinium. However, if your fish seems to be otherwise acting normally, eating well, reacting, etc., then this may be nothing to worry about. Sometimes, not rushing to treat is the best course of action! I'd continue to observe the fish. If it begins to decline, or develops any of the other symptoms that I mentioned, then it would be wise to remove the fish to a separate aquarium for observation and/or treatment with a proper medication. Hopefully, given continued good care and water conditions, your clown will be just fine! Feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns> Regards, Scott F.>

Sick Clown? (Follow Up) Scott, <Hello again!> Thanks for the reply.  Our clowns are the family favorites in the tank, and I'd be an outcast (sleeping in the doghouse) if something bad were to happen to them. <I can understand that!> I've noticed that the coloration comes and goes throughout the day, and there are no signs of distress.  It truly just looks like a pigmentation change in the skin.  Let's hope that's it! <It really seems that way to me> In last nights PH test, I came up around 8.0 (looks like the calibration on the Aquacontroller slipped) with a dKH of about 7 (calc at 460 -- all using Salifert tests).  I'm going to try bringing those numbers up slowly and see if things get better.  I'm also watching to see if they spawn again (the last spawn hatched on Monday) as that seems to be a pretty reliable indicator of health. <It sure is. Do take into account the typical day/night pH fluctuation when adjusting the pH> Thanks again for the advice; it's really helpful to have somebody to bounce these things off. Sean Perry <Glad to be here for you, Sean! it's our pleasure to be here! Regards, Scott F.>

The Ethics Of Anemone Husbandry Hi, <Hello! Scott F. in today> I was considering getting a magnificent anemone, partially to host a pair of Ocellaris clowns and was just wondering about the lighting. From your site it seems that only metal-halide lights are the only option but my LFS tells me that 4-40w fluor would be enough (for a 20inch deep tank), could this be because the anemone is an Australian variety or is the dealer mis-informed? <Well, it is possible to keep some light-demanding animals (such as SPS corals) under fluorescents, if you compensate through heavy feeding. However, where anemones are concerned, I would recommend halides, period. The intensity is so important for long term successful husbandry, IMO> I was considering (from the lighting articles on your site) to check out full spectrum fluor's but apparently they are not available in Australia, would you know if this is true and if (if they are suitable) there would be any way of ordering them to Australia. <I'm sure that they can be obtained from various internet sources.> It also appears that both the gigantic and carpet anemones are both natural hosts to ocellaris clowns. Do they need as much light as the magnificent variety? <I would say that they do. Lighting is not something that I would compromise on when considering keeping these animals> Also is it possible to tell me what size these species can grow to in captivity? <Depends on the conditions that they are kept under. They have amazingly long life spans in the wild (many decades or more!), so their growth potential is significant> Still on the question of lighting, how important is metal-halide lighting for keeping most varieties of corals (sorry about the vague question), I'm just trying to work out if it is worthwhile buying MH mainly for an anemone, especially when the MA will limit what corals I can get. <Glad you actually looked at it this way! You are correct in assuming that it is not a good idea to keep anemones and corals in the same system. Sure, it can be done, and has been done, but it is not a natural, nor responsible arrangement, IMO. A dedicated system is the absolute best way to go. As far as the metal halide lighting is concerned, I would say that this, along with excellent environmental parameters, is an "entry level requirement" with anemones. I'd rather not keep anemones if I could not supply the proper lighting. They are a potentially scarce wild resource, and they should not be kept by aquarists who don't want to (or cannot) supply these requirements.> Is there a chance these clowns would except a BTA? <Ocellaris are not symbionts with BTA's in the wild, but I have seen them adopt them in captivity. Another caution: Many clownfish are tank raised now days, and have not even seen an anemone! They sometimes never take up residence in them, much to the chagrin of hobbyists. Remember, an anemone is absolutely not a requirement for success with clownfish> While I'm here, I was wondering if you could help me with a more immediate problem, I bought a pair of Ocellaris clowns (both around 1 inch) 9 days ago and they both don't seem 'happy'. I should mention my water parameters are perfect, I even got my LFS to double check them. When I first put them in, my Bicolour damsel (village belle?) began sort of bullying them, flaring his fins etc. at them and subsequently kept the clowns in the top couple of inches of water. After two more days of this (and lots of reading, tried re-arranging LR etc) and no progress I decided I had to, regretfully, remove the damsel. After I did this, the clowns still keep to the top of the water, but do venture down further in the water (do you know how to encourage them to mix in with the tank-I only have a Vermiculated Angel and a Firefish-both doing excellently and both peaceful) but both hardly eat at all. The larger does eat bits and pieces but I think I have corrupted him by introducing live brine shrimp to the mix, in an effort to tempt the smaller one to start eating, which hasn't seemed to work. I have seen the smaller clown taste things and spit them back out, but nothing appears to be interesting enough to make a meal out of. I have tried frozen/live brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, spectrum pellets, marine green, fish dinners, I even bought fresh seafood (mussels, scallops, prawns etc) and blended them but nothing has worked. I noticed the small clown biting at the glass and later saw tiny white critters, possibly pods of some kind in decent numbers on another part of the glass. Could the little guy be surviving off these. <Possible, but not likely> The larger clown appears alright but the smaller looks skinny and I have been worried about him from the start, do you have any suggestions, or, if I returned him would his chance of survival improve. <I'd keep doing what you're doing. Tempting the fish with a wide variety of foods is the best you can do. Sure, you could move them to a temporary tank to provide them with a quieter environment, but I'd stay the course in the display for now> You guys probably find it amusing (or annoying) that I am having troubles with one of the easiest to keep marine fish, but am still considering getting one of the hardest to keep invertebrates, but be assured I will not get the magnificent anemone unless fully prepared. <Not annoyed at all! I'm frankly impressed by the enormous consideration and concern that you are showing for these animals. It is a special responsibility to take on an anemone, and your research and intellectual honesty is important. I'm sure that you'll make the right decision! As far as the trouble with clowns is concerned, that is no reflection on your skill as an aquarist. It happens to the best of them. We are dealing with living creatures which, despite our best efforts and expectations, do not always conform to our expectations...All part of the challenge of the hobby> Thanks for your assistance and for the excellent site - Chris <It's our pleasure, Chris. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

"Nemo" In Distress! (Very Sick Clownfish)  Hi,  <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!>  My husband and I recently started up our first saltwater tank (approx. 1 1/2 months ago). Our first fish was a tank-raised percula clown fish.  <A nice choice!>  He had been doing great until two nights ago. He started laying on the sand, hiding behind one of the large live rocks. Then yesterday, he was still hiding and lying on his side at times. His eyes seems to be very bulgy and he has become rather faded. My husband noticed yesterday that he does have some red spots on one side. We did put "Nemo" into a hospital tank (yesterday afternoon), and are currently using Maracyn-Two (today will be day 2 for the medication). I was also reading to try the CopperSafe concurrently with the Maracyn-Two - should I try this as well?  <I would hold off for now. Copper can be a bit tough on many fishes, especially if the fish is receiving another medication. I am a big advocate of copper use, but let's give the Maracyn a chance to do the job first>  He is still alive, but not kicking. He is face down, tail up on the bottom of the tank. I just recently noticed (within the past 10 minutes) that he has a white strand extending from the bottom of him. Could you please help me out and let me know if you think he may survive whatever he has?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thank You, Heather  <Well, Heather- the white strand that you are observing could be either mucus or body slime, or it could be fecal material, if it appears to be coming from the fish's anus. Body slime and mucus could be indicative of a possible parasitic condition. Is the fish showing any other symptoms, such as lack of appetite, difficulty breathing, or visible scratching? If this is the case, then I DO recommend that you begin copper treatment after all. You could be looking at the very serious Amyloodinium (Marine Velvet), and the Popeye could simply be a secondary infection of some sort. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter when using any of the medications we've discussed. If you intervene appropriately and quickly, the fish has pretty good odds of making a full recovery...Hope things work out! Regards, Scott F>

Clown With Popeye (Not Particularly Funny!)  I have a clownfish that has Popeye (only in one eye). I have had him in a QT tank for a few days. I was hoping it was just an injury, however, I have my doubts, since a hawkfish died on me a couple of weeks ago. He also had Popeye (as far as I know, it looked like it was only in on eye as well. How long should I kept him in QT w/Epsom salt, before maybe trying Maracyn, since it may be bacterial. Thanks, Debbie  <I'd give it a week or so, and if the fish is not showing signs of improvement, it may be worthwhile to embark on the Maracyn route. It may very well be more than just a coincidence if two fishes showed symptoms...You may also want to run a full "suite" of basic water parameter tests on your system, just to make sure that the environmental parameters are up to par. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Regarding Clownfish spinning Hello I just bought 2 clownfish for my 50 gallon aquarium; before I bought the pair I had my water tested and it was fine, <Define "fine"> BUT the smaller clownfish of the two is going absolutely crazy; spinning in circles rapidly with a tumbling like move....nonstop tumbling and twisting.... what does this mean? <That something is wrong... if other fish/es not malaffected it's likely not the environment but this specimen per se... Perhaps a developmental disorder. How to put this... fishes aren't as "done" in terms of neurological progress as mammals when they appear "older"... your one fish may have a genetic anomaly that is now just expressing itself> I have a protein skimmer, filter, heater, and powerhead.... the other things I have in my tank are 2 snails, 1 hermit crab, 1 shrimp, 1 starfish... What is happening to the clownfish? <Can't tell, don't know... but as far as I'm aware, not much you can do other than maintain good maintenance practices and hope. Bob Fenner>

Come On, Make a Poo!  You Look so Swollen.. About two weeks ago, we came home from a weekend away to find that one of a pair of our tank raised clownfish was bloated. We thought that she was full of eggs, but have never see this before. (It would be the first time since we got the pair about 2 years ago) Since then, the clown has become more swollen. After searching on these boards, we thought she might be constipated, so we added the Epsom salts 1TBS/ 5Gal,but nothing has changed. In fact, she has gotten bigger. The fish eats fine, acts normal, just has a HUGE stomach area. The tank is 20 gal, and tank inhabitants are the two clowns, a peppermint shrimp, and various snails. Everything else looks fine. We have about 25 lbs. of live rock, and live sand. I added a Seaclone of days after the bloating started (it was previously skimmerless.) I haven't seen the clown defecate recently, but have actually never seen either clown defecate in this tank.  Any ideas? The clown is so swollen, and seems to get bigger each day. She looks like she will explode in the next couple of days!!  <Edematous conditions can have a few root causes... and not many "solutions".>  Add: I just noticed tonight, while looking at the clown from underneath, I can see into the swollen area. It seems to be just gas or clear fluid filled. I am doing a 50% water change, as I am showing ammonia. Parameters are Ammonia .25, Nitrite 0, Nitrate .8 and pH 8.0 I know the ammonia isn't good at all. We started to feed both clowns a bit more when we thought the one was pregnant, but have slowed feeding back down again. (Once every other day with Ocean nutrition Prime Reef)  What can this be, and what can we do to fix it, or is our clown doomed???  Thanks for your help, Deena Jones  <Not doomed, but not much other to do than be patient, keep up your maintenance and hope that the condition resolves itself. With the ammonia present, do take care to not add any more life, and feed scantly. Bob Fenner>

-Zit cream for clownfish: Reef safe?-  I've got a male (presumably) clownfish that has been suffering chronic breakouts resembling acne. <Yikes!> He eats and behaves normally as far as I can tell however!?!?  http://www.zoyzoy.com/aquarium/images/Clown%20with%20Skin%20Sores.jpg  <The link is bad>  Some have suggested lymphocystis. He gets over each sore but new ones always show up. Its been a couple months like this I would guess. <Lymph, in my experience, is usually caused by exposure to too much copper. It's not harmful, each white blob is simply a grossly enlarged cell loaded with the virus. These cells can actually be removed by hand, if you're careful, but since they really don't pose a health problem to the fish it's better just to leave them alone.>  Any other thoughts....treatment options etc? <Send another link to that picture w/ a copy of this email, I'd hate to guess at the marine-acne w/out a picture to look at. - Kevin>  Tanks, tanks a lot!  Jeff

-Trouble in maroon clown paradise-  Crew,  We recently lost the second of our two maroon clowns. <Ut oh> We have a 45 gallon reef tank that has been up and running for over 3 months. The first maroon died about two weeks after introduction to the new tank (about 1.5 months ago). The second maroon seemed much happier after introduction of a BTA. About two weeks ago, we introduced a Coral Beauty. The two fish seemed to get a long fine (i.e., left each other alone). We had our water tested in detail last Saturday (pre-death), and everything (pH, alkalinity, nitrates, ammonia, etc.) was in perfect order EXCEPT salinity and iodine. <I wouldn't be very concerned with the exact level of iodine, you'll drive yourself nuts trying to keep it stable.> This was not too surprising as the BTA had been somewhat closed up and was of some concern. We wanted to add another fish to the tank, the store recommended three small fairy wrasses. That night we got the salinity and iodine in check and introduced the three wrasses. The clown had no reaction to the new fish, and the Coral Beauty was thrilled to have playmates.  All seemed to be going well the next morning, but late afternoon the maroon began acting strange (laying in the bottom of the tank below his BTA), and within an hour he had died. All other fish, BTA, mushrooms, coral seem to be doing well. We LOVED the maroon clown, and would really like to think about replacing, perhaps with another type of clown. However, we are still  concerned about the loss of the two fish. <Were they wild caught or tank raised? Tank raised clowns are less susceptible to disease and the vigorous collection/transport/handling of wild caught specimens can lead to all sorts of disease (namely Brooklynella {excuse the spelling, don't feel like looking it up }).> Do you have any thoughts? (1)could it have been the rapid addition of salt/iodine? <There is never a reason to rapidly adjust the salt level. Our glass boxed critters can handle a wide range of salt levels, with the most stressful part being the change. As for the iodine, you'll find that most reefers/fish keepers don't test for it, although many offer weekly additions. A recent article has pointed to the regular introduction of foods (which you do anyway) to contain plenty of iodine for your system. Testing, in my opinion, is just another way to get you stressed out about your tank with little merit.> (2) Could it have been the stress of adding the new fish - This didn't seem to bother him, but you never know. <A beat up fish would have completely different symptoms than these guys, my guess would be some sort of parasitic infection. In the future you should quarantine all new arrivals (do a search on WetWeb!) so any problems can be identified and acted upon in a system that can tolerate medications. I hope this is of some help! -Kevin>

Sick Clowns Aren't Funny!  Hi guys, and greetings from Atlanta,  <Hey there! Scott F. with you today!>  While searching for some damsels to get my quarantine tank cycled, I wandered into my local aquarium supply store and they were having a terrific sale. I made the (fairly) innocent mistake of purchasing a juvenile Ocellaris Clown (aquacultured - a safe gamble, I thought) to match the adult I'd kept more-or-less alone for four years, in the hopes that I could offer her a new friend or potential mate. They've become great partners in these last few weeks, but a few days ago I noticed the large female breathing terribly fast. That night as I watched I noticed the juvenile had a long strand of white feces hanging out (though its respiration is near normal). By the morning the strand was gone, but the next day I saw some more. I researched your site and concluded it was most likely a parasitic problem.  <Seems like a likely theory>  Strangely, it is only the smaller one with the feces issue and the larger one with the respiration issue.  <That is interesting...>  At the behest of my aquarium store's fish specialist, I mixed some Metronidazole in with brine shrimp and they both ate heartily for three meals. Today the large one is no longer eating and the juvenile is getting pretty picky about it. I removed them both to a freshwater dip for five minutes before adding tank water back in to increase SG to about 1.010. They stayed that way for around eight hours with little (visible) additional stress while I prepared the quarantine tank. They are now in the QT with a 1.014 SG and adjusting as expected.  <Good to hear that>  I haven't seen any more white feces during the day today, but the female's respiration rate remains off the chart. I'm hesitant to add any copper yet, as I'd like to give the hyposalinity a chance. And Joyce Wilkerson warns that some clowns that are exposed to copper will never spawn again.  <A good point, and one that I have personally observed with a friends clownfish pair...>  I'd rather her survive than spawn, if I have to choose, but I'd prefer to have both options available.  <I can't argue with that>  Am I OK leaving them in the depressed-salinity water and watching, or would waiting for further symptoms to develop push them beyond the point of no return? Is exceeding three days of hyperactive respiration just asking for trouble?  Thanks for your help John  <Well, John, the high respiration rate is of concern to me. If your tank water parameters are in line (i.e.; no ammonia or nitrite), then it may very well be one of the nastier parasitic illnesses that you're observing, such as Brooklynella or Amyloodinium. On the other hand, the fish appear to be eating and are not showing excessive body slime or other symptoms generally associated with these diseases. However, if the fish have been eating, this is an encouraging sign. I suppose at this point, if the fish show no further decline, I'd observe for another few days. It is very important to engage in a more aggressive treatment regimen immediately upon diagnosing either of the two aforementioned diseases. In lieu of copper, you may want to try a Formalin-based remedy. Either way, observe a bit longer, then take decisive action if needed! You're on the right track, so hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Sick Clowns Aren't Funny (Pt. 2)  Thanks for the response!  <You're quite welcome!>  My clowns are in the quarantine tank and their breathing has slowed to normal. They are eating regularly - including a few medicated brine shrimp- and I am changing 25% of the water every day and vacuuming the tank bottom for tomonts each time. I'm also dosing Paraguard daily in lieu of copper. I've removed all filter media from my hang-on filter except the bio-wheels - which I hope are not conflicting with the Paraguard.  <Good procedures...>  I plan to leave them in the Q tank for a month, including 14 days or more with the Paraguard. Is that too much time? Enough?  <Sounds fine to me...Do verify with the manufacturer's instructions that this is the full recommended treatment course...>  As you know from my earlier e-mail, this all started while trying to get that quarantine tank running, so it still isn't cycled, I'm sure. I'll get that done with the raw shrimp technique recommended on your website after the clowns are vacated. I believe if I use Amquel Plus every day to remove any ammonia, nitrates, and nitrite it should keep it safe in the meantime, shouldn't it?  <Well, using ammonia removers me not be such a good idea...The natural bacteria are the answer. I'd use one of the "bacteria in a bottle" products here.>  I would use a quick-cycle (refrigerated) formula, but it needs 24 hours to cycle with no medicines in the tank, and would reset the clock on the Paraguard.  <Of course, you'd have a tank with sufficient bacterial population to break down ammonia and nitrite, which would lower the stress levels for your fish>  Would a UV sterilizer be a good recommendation for the main tank at this point?  <Well, it's a nice thing to have, but I wouldn't consider it a necessity>  If there's anything else I can try, please let me know.  Thanks again for all you do.  John  <Sounds like you're on the right track, John. In the future, an easy way to have a ready-to-go biofilter for your quarantine tank is to use a sponge filter, and leave it sitting or running in your display tank's sump at all times. That way, you always have a filter colonized with beneficial bacteria at the ready. Easy! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Blind Clownfish...  Hi again!  <Hi there! Scott F. her today>  I wrote a couple of weeks ago about one of my clownfish who'd mysteriously gone blind, or at the very least had undergone a rather sudden visual impairment.  <Yes, I remember!>  I moved him to our 10-gallon QT out of our 54-gallon MT, and been trying to feed him while finding out what had happened to him. Happily enough, even though he's still swimming against the glass and staying near the surface of the water, he has been eating a bit, freeze-dried bloodworms and some Mysis shrimp.  <Good to hear that!>  Other than his obvious problems, he appears to be otherwise healthy, maintaining his color and his movement. I'll put some liquid vitamins into the water so that he can get some supplementary nourishment, but is there any hope of his regaining his eyesight? Does this happen to A. ocellaris (as well as to other species) on a more than occasional basis?  Thanks for your support, MM  <Well, MM, if the fish is indeed blind, I would hold out little hope of being able to restore its eyesight. However, if the fish's vision was merely impaired, there is always the possibility that its vision could be restored over time. I am not aware of a propensity for these fish to go blind. I have heard of "nutritional blindness" with fishes such as lionfish, but I would only be guessing as to what the cause of your fish's blindness might be. Just keep giving him lots of TLC and a high level of care, mixed with observation. Regards, Scott F>

Not Clowning Around (Possible Sick Clownfish?)  I'm sorry I'm not able to diagnose any potential diseases further, but I'm a beginner to the salt water aquarium world.  <No need to apologize; we're all still learning every day! Scott F. here today!>  I have taken two pictures of my two clown fish which I believe might have a disease. Unfortunately, I have been out of town for the last 5 days, and I didn't notice anything when I returned last night. However, studying these fish further today I noticed what appears to be raised white spots on these fish. Pictures are attached.  Fish Number 1: White spot on left fin. Large. Almost looks like it could be some type of parasite (it is definitely protruding from the body of the fish.  Fish Number 2: White spot on VERY TIP of tail. Has more white spots on opposite side. Almost look like bubbles on fish. I apologize in advance for the photos, but as you can imagine it was VERY difficult taking pictures of these fish.  <You did a nice job, actually!>  Please help and please oh please God let this not be a disease and be me just overreacting.  Thanks in advance for your help.  Jason Oldfield  <Well, Jason- it's tough to be 100% certain by looking at the photos, but I think that it is a possibility. If the fish are otherwise acting healthy, taking food, breathing normally, etc., then I'd just keep observing them for a while. However, if the symptoms seem to be worsening, or if the fish just don't look "right", you may want to consider executing a series of simple freshwater dips (3 to 5 minutes duration). These dips are often less stressful than an all-out medical attack, and can be rather successful in combating parasites. Most important of all, keep the environmental parameters stable, the feedings frequent and of high quality, and observe the fish carefully. If further treatment is necessary to eliminate these symptoms, we can re-evaluate in a few days to a week. Hang in there, and good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Still No Clowning Around! (Possible Sick Clownfish- Pt. 2)  Thanks for the reply Scott. At this point, everything else does look normal. They both swimming actively, taking food vigorously, and not showing any signs of hard breathing or the like (I would love for them to visit the cleaner shrimp, but my longnose hawkfish generally likes to guard him as his own!)  <I'm glad to hear that the fish appear to be acting normally. That's a good sign>  I just had my water tested today by my LFS. The parameters were as follows:  Nitrite: 0  Nitrate: 0  Ammonia 0  Ph: 8.3  Specific Gravity: 1.0245  Calcium: 400 (ppm?)  Temperature: 78 degrees F  This is unchanged from 2 weeks ago.  I also performed a 25% water change today AFTER they tested the water and BEFORE I noticed anything strange with the fish. No other fish or critters appear to be showing any maladies. The tank also seemed to be doing quite good with red algae starting to form nicely.  I guess I should also tell you that the tank is a 30 gallon (don't tell Bob) FOWLR tank (45 lbs. of live rock) that has been up and running for about 6 weeks now.  <Although I'm not a big fan of smaller tanks, if they are well-maintained and stocked carefully, they can be very successful!>  The clownfish were tank raised, were the first inhabitants and have been in the tank for about 2 weeks. I did NOT quarantine the clown fish before adding them to the tank as I did not think this was necessary since they were the first inhabitants (please feel free to correct me if I was wrong here).  <Actually, you are mistaken here. All fishes- be they the first fish or the last fish, should be quarantined before introduction into the display. The rationale for quarantining the first fish is that they can be carrying disease (parasitic or otherwise) which can linger in the tank, attacking future inhabitants. Quarantine is just a good practice that every hobbyist should utilize as standard procedure, IMO>  The hawkfish was added today, before I noticed the potential malady of course (he had been quarantined at the LFS for about 3  weeks.)  <Do consider quarantine at home for the greater control that it affords for you. You never know what other fish passed through the "quarantine" tank that this guy might have been in at the LFS>  Other critters include the aforementioned cleaner shrimp, banded coral shrimp, brittle star, emerald crab, sally lightfoot crab, yellow sea cucumber, and a mixed selection of snails and hermit crabs.  Feeding generally consists of a daily feeding of a half of a small cube of frozen Prime Reef (as instructed by my LFS) with an occasional feeding of flake food in the morning. Again, if necessary, please feel free to offer advice for feeding.  <Your feeding seems fine...Just keep feeding a diversity of items, and continue your careful practices>  From my amateur research, I thought there was a possibility that it was either the dreaded Ich (which I have no idea what the real name of the disease is)  <Cryptocaryon irritans is the causative protozoan- the disease is also called "Cryptocaryon">  or Lymphocystis (the picture of the spots on the Poor Man's  Moorish Idol in the disease section of your site looked somewhat similar to those on my clown fish, except the Poor Man's Moorish Idol appears to have a much more severe case).  <I was kind of thinking that this is a possibility for the "symptoms" that you may have been looking at...Hence the advice to continue observing, and looking for other possible symptoms>  The only other potential suggestions seemed to be tumors of some sort, but that seems unlikely since it's affecting both fish.  <Possible, but they don't really look like that to me>  So, I'm curious as to why you feel I should just continue to observe them. If it were one of the aforementioned diseases, I would think you would recommend removing the fish and putting them in a medical quarantine tank. I would also think the faster action is taken, the better the chance for a full recovery. But, I also don't want to stress my fish out over nothing if I don't have to.  <That's exactly my point. If I were completely convinced that you are looking at ich, I would recommend an immediate course of treatment in a separate tank. However, your fish do not seem to be showing any other signs of this disease, such as scratching, etc. Many times, in our rush to "treat" a perceived "disease", we can do more harm than good, severely stressing, or even killing the fish in the process. Continued observation will give you the opportunity to be 100% certain before embarking on a treatment regimen. I think that more "benign" treatments for parasites, such as freshwater dips, can often be effective for minor parasitic problems. If it is Lymphocystis, however, this malady often clears up or goes into remission spontaneously, without much intervention on the hobbyist's part. It's origins are not exactly known, but theories seem to center upon it being an environmentally-induced malady...Do read up on this on the WWM site>  So, I'm not questioning your judgment as you know INFINITELY more about fish than I do. I'm just wondering what you might be thinking this is if it's not Ich or Lymphocystis.  <Well, I think it's important that you DO question my suggestions- or anyone else's, for that matter. It's good to get guidance, but you have the final call in any situation. Your good judgment is the most important!>  OK, hopefully that provides you with a little more information. If you'd like better pictures, please let me know as I'll be happy to sit down for another 30 minute photo session.  Thanks again! Jason Oldfield  <Actually, Jason- what I'd do is sit for a 30-minute observation session! Keep a close eye on these fishes, maintain excellent environmental parameters, and stable temperatures. If other symptoms do manifest, such as the aforementioned scratching, etc., do take immediate action (Formalin-based or Copper-based preparations usually are my choice for parasitic maladies). Use that good judgment of yours! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Clownfish Deaths- No Laughing Matter Hello, thanks for your time, I hope you can help! <Hope that I can! Scott F. with you today!> Background: I have a 70 gallon reef tank.  I am using a DSB method with approximately 100 lbs of live rock.  I have ~300watts of compact fluorescent lighting, and an aqua C EV-120. The tank seems to be in excellent condition, with no ammonia or nitrogen problems.  I have a Yellow Tang, Psychedelic Goby, Firefish, algae blenny and a decent amount of Gorgonia, Ricordea, polyps, and LPS. Everybody looks excellent and all of the corals are also doing great.  BUT. . . I seem to have problems with clowns.  I have a small green bubble and would really like to see it have a clown.  I have bought a small tomato clown a month ago and it seemed fine in the LFS tanks.  Put him in my tank, and he starts breathing heavily. Within 2 days, he died.  Towards the end, he had also started to develop a thick slime coating.  Is that Brooklynella? <Sounds very much like Brooklynella. This is an extremely virulent disease that is most common with imported clownfish. Perhaps if you purchase tank-raised specimens you'll avoid this potential problem. Do quarantine all new arrivals, of course> No other fish was affected and everybody else seems to be doing great.  So, I wait a month for whatever it was to hopefully fix itself.  I then saw a nice little sebae clown and picked him up.  He looked healthy in the LFS again, but within 1.5 days, same thing---heavy breathing, and slight color loss this time.  Dead.  I have now verified that my tank is a clown killer, and want to remedy this.  If you can tell me what I'm doing wrong, I'd appreciate it. Thanks for any help and advice, Scott <Well, Scott, I'd insist on purchasing tank-raised specimens, as mentioned above. I'd also consider purchasing your fish from a different LFS, and be very careful in selecting appropriate specimens, and quarantining/acclimating them carefully. You should see some success here. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Sebae clown with a black tail Hi all, I haven't been around in awhile lots of work.  but recently been dealing with a problem with my sebae clown.  He has now been in this 75gal tank for almost 2 years and always been great but about 2 weeks ago I noticed his tail fin is turning black kinda like when a lettuce leaf starts to rot.  now it is on both his under fins just a little on those but probably 1/4 in of his tail fin has turned black. Doesn't seem to be black spots just an all over blackness.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. thanks Colleen Mars, PA <Could be "just" a color change. Is this your only clown? Your only fish? Any others affected? I would not be overly concerned if this is the only strange symptom. Bob Fenner>

Cuter than Nemo still here 3/8/04 Believe it or not, I still have my " cuter than Nemo " fish ! I have been feeding him peas daily and some regular fish food (crumbles) and have now added oatmeal daily and some cooked rice. He still is not able to really swim right side up. He is either standing on his head or laying on his right side in the water. He is " pooping " some, but for all he eats it does not seem like much. I am feeding him some by hand. <kudos to you here for your efforts> He is healthy looking, is in a 2 gal. fish bowl with aeration as he has a little control in less water. Still using salt and Epsom. He seems very depressed and who could blame him. This has been going on since December! Would Melafix or Spectracide help or is it all a waste of time. <the latter I suspect> I spend my time feeding, turning him upright, changing water. I hate to give up as he has fought so hard. If I knew of some way to stick a weight on his body to counteract the balance problem, I would as I think he could make it. Anyone with some far out suggestions on how to help this little guy? <for goldfish with buoyancy problems, they make a surgical incision and insert a small quartz(?) pebble into the swim bladder for ballast> They affix transmitters to sea creatures, does anyone know of anything to use? Sounds silly--but who knows?: ) Thanks for any help-LAG <Not sure what more to say/be of help here... grateful for your efforts again though. Anthony>

Clobbered Clown? (Damaged Clownfish?) Hi, <HI there! Scott F. with you today!> I was wondering if you guys could offer an opinion on one of my maroon clowns: I got two of them just over a month ago; one of them about an inch and a half and the other a touch bigger. They squabbled for a few days but after a week or so I was pleased to see the little guy doing the shuddering thing and they've now paired off nicely. I'm a little worried about the male now though.  He's always had pretty ragged looking finnage - at first I thought it was from the fighting for dominance but it hasn't improved since they've paired.  Upon closer inspection it actually looks like the fins are translucent around the edges rather than torn anyway. <Tough love, huh?>   He also picks up bubbles on his coat quite easily.  A couple of times I've noticed him listing slightly, although both times he's had a lot of bubbles stuck to him which I thought maybe was throwing him off balance slightly?  He soon recovered both times and I've adjusted the venturi on my filter head to eliminate fine bubbles now anyway. He spends a fair amount of time at the top of the tank but doesn't seem to have laboured breathing and actually sleeps at the bottom of the tank. <Not uncommon for these fishes. They tend to "nest" in areas in which they feel comfortable> He seems happy enough other than that and is eating fine.  The colouring on his torso is fine and there are no spots or other marks, just the translucent fins.  The femaleis absolutely fine and looks great.  Am I maybe just being paranoid?  If not, any suggestions? I'm running a Jewel 240L (60 Gallon) with skimmer, powerheads and live rock.  Nitrite and ammonia are 0.0, nitrate is 2ppm, pH is 8.0-8.3 (depending on which test kit I use), SG is 1.024, temperature is 24oC.  They're the only two fish in the tank at the moment.  I have to admit that a month ago I was not that clued up with proper quarantine procedures but know better now. <Glad to hear that!> Thanks in advance for any help. Ryan <Well, Ryan- I don't think that you're being paranoid. However, do observe this fish carefully, and maintain excellent water conditions to avoid potential infection on the damaged fins. If things get worth, it may be time to separate the male for a while to observe and treat as required. Regards, Scott F>

Death Of A Clown! Hi Guys, I'm new to the hobby of fish keeping, but firstly let me commend you on your bloody good website, I've searched loads across the net and haven't found one that's better. <Thanks so much for the compliments! It's our pleasure to bring it to you! Scott F. with you today!> Anyway, I had a clownfish die on me yesterday and I've been trying to find out the exact cause.  I have a 30 gallon tank which had been running for about a month (before I put any fish in) with just rocks (dead), gravel, and a couple of fake plants in it.  The pump I use runs at 600 l/h and I also have a protein skimmer SeaClone (bad choice), the protein skimmer I only run for 6 hours a day as I heard they can slow down the cycling process of the tank. <Well, that's open for debate, but I think that you should either run it 24/7 or not at all during the cycling process...> Two and a half weeks ago, I added 2 false percula clowns and 3 small hermit crabs...everything was going fine so a week on I added another 2 false perculas and another 3 small hermits.  A few days ago I noticed one of my clowns was looking a little ill, so I did a water test and all the levels were fine (ammonia and nitrite zero), plus the temp (80f) and salinity (1.022) had remained fairly constant throughout.  I thought my fish must have developed fin rot as he was loosing colour around the fins and they were looking a bit feathery.  So I decided to used this fin rot medication called Melafix, the instructions said to remove any activated carbon from your filter while medicating so I took out the black sponge and applied the medication to the tank accordingly. <Uh- Oh- that's kind of problematic...We advocate that you NEVER treat in the display tank, for many reasons, not the least of which is the potential for medication to interfere with the biological filtration...> Anyway, a day later the ill looking  clownfish had died and the other three were slowly swimming around at the surface as if starved of oxygen.  I did some more water tests and found the ammonia to be extremely high, so I immediately did a 10% water change, put the carbon sponge back in, ceased medication and permanently switched on the protein skimmer to oxygenate the water. <Good emergency reactions on your part!> Two of the other clowns are now looking fine, but the third one looks as though he might go the same way as his former tankmate. Do you have any idea what the problem might be, I'm guessing it was the high ammonia that killed one of the clowns, but why would the levels suddenly shoot up like that, could it be because the tank hasn't cycled properly? Or because I removed the carbon sponge? Or even due to the medication? <Well, I'd say that it's either due to an incompletely cycled tank or interruption of the biological filtration, as discussed above. Or, the stock that you purchased could have been sick to begin with. We always push for strict quarantine of all new arrivals for at least three weeks. It's an excellent practice to get into, and it can prevent many potential disasters.> I also checked to see if any of the hermits had crawled away somewhere and died but they're all fine. <That's good to hear!> Sorry the question is so long winded, I'll greatly appreciate any help/advice you can offer. Thanks, Mark (Essex, UK) <Mark, you certainly have some great insights! You are well on your way to becoming a very successful hobbyist! You just need to make a few procedural adjustments (i.e.; quarantine, not treating in the display tank, etc.) to work out the "kinks". Keep a very close eye on the remaining fishes, and be prepared to treat them appropriately (in a separate tank!) should the need arise again. Otherwise, monitor your water carefully, maintain good, steady environmental parameters, and avoid adding any new fishes for a while, until things stabilize. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

- Sick Fish? - Hello, Thank you for all the help in the past it has been greatly appreciated. I have been searching your site for clownfish diseases but haven't come across anything to what is happening to my clowns.  I have 3 Amphiprion ocellaris and they have been doing fine so far, they were tank raised. I have had them for about 2 months now.  My parameters are: pH 8.2, ammonia 0 ppm, nitrate 15 ppm (doesn't seem to go done even though I change the water, doesn't go up neither), nitrite 0 ppm, temp 25 degrees C, sg 1.0215.  Today I noticed that one of the clowns looked as though the white color in the anterior most stripe was turning orange in spots. Kind of when you paint a wall and there are little bubbles?? <I understand what you are describing but not really sure at all what this might be.> Hard to describe.  It is only on this one stripe.  The others look as though they may have little spots but nothing compared to the one.  Is this a common thing... just something I didn't notice before or is it a disease of some sort?? <I'd keep an eye on things - making sure it's not spreading. It could be it was just a scrape in the night or similar injury. Make sure the fish is eating and you keep the water quality high... make certain the problem is not getting worse.> Thank you very much,
<Cheers, J -- >

- Sick Clownfish - Dear Crew, First of all, thank you all for providing such an invaluable service to all of us who are new to this hobby.  I know I would have given up by now if it wasn't for the wealth of information that I've found on the WetWebMedia site. My system has been set up for around two months now, and has two fish - a Royal Gramma and a Common Clownfish.  I introduced the clownfish one week ago, after the retailer had held him for me for a week. Everything seemed fine for the first few days, but then I noticed a white, fungus-like spot on the clown's rearmost white stripe.  I decided that a freshwater dip (for about 3 minutes in aerated, temp and pH adjusted fresh water) was the best thing that I could do.  I also managed to remove most of the fungus with a Q-tip.  He didn't seem to be unduly stressed by all this and was soon happy, active and eating again. Unfortunately, yesterday I noticed more white spots on his skin and fins, this time not looking quite so 'fungal'.  I also think that his orange colouration may have darkened somewhat, although this could be my imagination.  I have tried diagnosing him from the articles on WetWebMedia, and from the tool on Fishbase, but I can't find anything which seems to match what he has.  I don't think it is ich or velvet as the spots seem too big, or Brooklynella for that matter. I've attached some photos which hopefully will help you make a diagnosis. <Looks like Lymphocystis to me.> He is still eating, although maybe a bit less lively than he was a few days ago. I know that my first, and greatest mistake has been not using a quarantine system.  I'm in the process of setting one up now, but it will be weeks before it has cycled. <Don't concern yourself with cycling a quarantine tank. Instead, start making lots of saltwater and be prepared to change water frequently and in large amounts - 50% every other day or so.> Once it has, you can rest assured that future additions will go through a rigorous quarantine period. <Start now.> My system parameters are as follows: 40 gallon total system volume, set up for two months Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 - 0.05ppm (it's difficult to tell on my Red Sea test kit) Nitrate: 2ppm pH: 8.1 Temp: 24 - 25C SG: 1.023 - 1.024 Lighting: 110W Power Compact Filtration: 9kg live rock, Miracle Mud refugium with Caulerpa prolifera, 24 hour lighting (no protein skimmer) Tankmates: One Royal Gramma, 3 Hermit crabs and 6 snails I've read the Clownfish article on WetWebMedia, which suggests: 1. Freshwater dips - I'm now doing this daily for about 5 minutes <If this is lymph, then the dips won't actually help. I'd hold off on these for the moment, especially so frequently.> 2. Water quality - I guess I need another brand of test kit to find out if I really do have a Nitrite problem.  But what would I do then? <Water changes.> 3. Adding an anemone, cleaner goby, or cleaner shrimp. Unfortunately, all my local retailers are out of neon gobies and cleaner shrimp, and I don't think my system (or me) is ready for an anemone. <Agreed... again, if this is lymph, then it will come at go at its leisure.> 4. Lowering SG to 1.018 - 1.019.  I've started to do this and will be there in a few days. <I wouldn't bother with this at this time.> 5. Chemical cures - best avoided if possible. <Agreed, although sometimes necessary.> I guess what I'd really like to know is what disease he is suffering from.  Then an appropriate course of action should be easier to decide. Once again, thank you for taking the time to try to get me out of this mess!  I hope that the little guy pulls through, as my wife and I have already grown very attached to him. Kind regards,
<Cheers, J -- >
- Sick Clown? Or Something More Sinister - Hello, I have a sick percula clown fish. Please see attached picture. <Ok.> Bought two of them Monday night 6PM. The LFS had just gotten the fish in. By Tuesday night saw a whitish spot on one of them. This spot quadrupled in size overnight. The fish is keeping it's dorsal fin down, also pinching his side fin (not in this picture). He is not eating. By noon time he had trouble staying upright and was mostly swimming tilted over 30 degrees. What do you think this is?? Is it the clownfish disease or is a bacterial infection. <Perhaps neither... that looks suspiciously like a bite mark... had I not seen something almost identical earlier in the week [also on a clown fish who got chomped on by a grouper] I wouldn't have come up with that.> How do I treat? <Hmm... quarantine, dim lighting to keep the fish at ease, and lots of clean water for now... keep an eye on both fish. If this were a disease or parasite, I'd expect both fish to have this problem - the behaviour, description, and photo makes me think otherwise. Again, keep an eye on things.> Does it have a chance of recovery. <Well... I never enjoy being the voice of doom, but 'if' it's a bite, probably not. If this is otherwise, your continued observation and timely action could likely improve the odds. Do keep us informed.> Thank you in advance,
<Cheers, J -- >

- Sick Clown? Or Something More Sinister, Follow-up - Thanks for your feedback. <My pleasure.> The fish had no symptoms when I got it. I am sure it was not a bite. <Fair enough.> I only had the two perculas in the tank. The other one is fine, even today. I took the photo to the LFS immediately. The person I talked to thought it was bacterial and sold me Furacyn. I quarantined the fish (which I should have done in the first place: that's one of the lessons learned) and added the Furacyn. Didn't help. The fish perished less than 24 hours after the first symptoms and less than 48 hours after I got it which coincided with its arrival at the LFS. <Sorry to hear of your loss.> Back to the LFS. The second person there thought that it had been Brooklynella. And I believe from reading the FAQ's on your site that may be right as what matches the symptoms of the disease (if I remember it right) are a. symptoms occur 1 to 2 days after arrival at LFS (I was unfortunate enough to  buy it the day of arrival at the LFS) and b. the fast pace of the disease. <Quite possible.> From several sources that I could find (books, your site) I was initially suspecting Brooklynella as well. So why did I listen to the first LFS clerk? <Because he/she sounded like he knew what they were talking about.> I am wondering if the fish would have made it had treated it for that disease properly in the first place? <Doubt it, given the rapid decline... would have been hard to bring it back, was likely heading in the wrong direction before you got it. I would keep a very close eye on the remaining clown - the chances of this fish being exposed to the same parasites are very good.> Thanks, Enzo <Cheers, J -- ><<FWIW, RMF thinks this may be Brooklynella as well>>

- Sick Clown? Or Something More Sinister, More Questions - Hello, I need advice on a new illness. To recap what happened last week: Monday night got two perculas. One died Wednesday most likely from Brooklynella. The LFS gave me a replacement on Thursday. Here is where the story continues. I put both clownfish in a QT. Then I saw a fuzzy white spot on top of the first white band of the new clown. Thought it might be an early stage of Brooklynella, so started to treat with Malachite green and formalin. 15 minute baths, 3 times a day, 3 drops per liter. At first I thought I was successful as the white spot went away but now after two days of treatment it has come back. <Yeah, you really need to do this formalin treatment in the quarantine tank. The problem being that if this problem is parasitic, then returning the fish to a tank infested with the same will just reinfect the fish. Treating the quarantine will address this directly.> Further observations: There is a white pluck on the chin, beneath the mouth. The fish isn't eating. For a while was taking food in it's mouth but would spit it out. I am now starting to believe what I saw was not Brooklynella but something else, maybe cotton fungus? <Fungus is not as common an occurrence as you might think - more likely bacterial, or even viral like Lymphocystis which isn't nearly as much of a concern as Brooklynella is.> For comparison, the other percula is as healthy as can be: super appetite, looks great, not stressed at all, even though it is in a QT and I have also subjected it to the same baths as the other one, kind of as a preventive measure. What do you think this illness is and what advice do you have for treatment? <See my notes above - if the larger white spot if Lymphocystis, it should go away on it's own.> Thank you in advance, Enzo <Cheers, J -- >

These Clowns Weren't Funny (Clownfish Deaths) I have a 30 gallon that has been set up for about 5 months now.  I have an under gravel filer (no power heads yet, on the way), a back hanging power filter, and liverock (only 2 pounds right now).  We have had a happy and healthy mandarin goby for four months. We added a common clown about three weeks ago. He died after a week and a half.  Last week we added another common, a Clarkii, and his sebae anemone.  The Clarkii lasted three days and the common only make it two days after that.  Now for more info. The Clarkii and the anemone were a wonderful pair in the store.  The store did not have anything to say about having two different kinds of clowns. <I will...Not a good idea!> I now know better because of the wonderful websites I have visited since then. They had a lot to say about a lot of things. It is a specialty fish store. Very knowledgeable people at least I thought.  The first clown was a big eater the first few days kind of like he had been starved.  Then he didn't want to eat any more.  Then he died.  I did a 35% water change before we did anything else.  The second two clowns did the same.  Ate like mad the first two days.  Didn't eat the last day or two.  Then dead the next day. <Well, lots of potential problems here, ranging from some sort of osmotic shock to a possible toxin. These symptoms are common with cyanide poisoning, but I doubt that this is the cause with clownfish. Sounds like handling and acclimation problems...You didn't mention any quarantine procedure here...ALWAYS quarantine every new fish for at least 3 weeks...> The anemone is doing wonderful.  All out flowing around.  He even moved yesterday.  Now to explain the testing issue.  I was using the 5 in 1 test strips for the first few months.  Everything cycled and was doing great after that. 0 ammonia,  0 nitrites and nitrates.  78 degrees.  1.021 sg.  Then I bought a different brand didn't realize the problem till last week). All the sudden my trates were reading 80ppm for a while.  No ill effects on goby.  Read a website that said this is a normal thing that a lot of tanks go through and if no ill effects you are probably ok.  My fish store wanted to test my water.  Their test said 0 to everything.  So I bought a liquid test kit.  Now my nitrates are reading 30.  Who do I trust? <If you have a kit with fresh reagents, trust you results. Personally, I prefer kits with dry reagents, as they are stable and assure accuracy in test results for longer periods of time> Is this why my clowns keep dying? <I doubt it. Nitrates are not "toxic", per se. They are, however, an indicator of overall water quality...Lots of information on the WWM site about knocking down nitrates...> I am doing the 35% change after each of their deaths and  a 20% every other week.  All of my level stay the same except nitrates, depending on who is doing the testing.  If something is killing my clowns, why isn't it killing the anemone? <Well, it's hard to say. Invertebrates are susceptible to an entirely different array of potential maladies and conditions. I think the key may be in the handling and acclimation of the clowns. I'd consider purchasing future stock from a different store, and embracing a quarantine procedure as advocated in many articles and FAQs on WWM.> Please help.  My husband is getting very discouraged and wants to give up.  I'm not ready yet.  Also, feeding frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, veggies, and flakes.  Just bought frozen Mysis, emerald cuisine, marine cuisine, squid, and omega3 brine yesterday. >All excellent foods> A little to late.  Sorry so long want the best help I can get.     AJ <Well, AJ- I think with a little investigation, and careful selection/acclimation as well as quarantine, you'll see success. Don't give up yet! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> -Discolored clown!- Hi! <Hi! Kevin here.> We started a reef tank about 6 weeks ago. It took us quite a while to set everything up properly. We have a deep sand bed, and the chemistry seems to be within proper parameters. Except for the fact that we have more of a bio load now. One of the original inhabitants, an Ocellaris, survived a couple of traumas fine, such as a bully hawkfish who killed several fish (he is gone now) <eek>, a power outage that led to a 50% water change and changes in who lives with him. The clown was doing fine until about 3 days ago, when he stopped eating (flake food) altogether and would hang out in calmer areas of the tank. We thought he'd recover as usual, but now he is laying on the sand on his side, breathing hard, hardly moving. Yesterday I checked the chemistry again, in part because the algae gets out of hand. Everything is perfect except for the phosphates. Our store did not recommend a protein skimmer. We have lots of filter feeders, and that sand bed. No refugium. We use R/O water enriched with Ca(OH)2 (AKA Kalkwasser) to replace evaporated water, and enhance with bio calcium. We have not done regular specific water changes since they were necessary when we had that power outage and when we set up our quarantine tank. Everybody else is doing great, the coral grows, the only problem is the algae. No other sign of disease on the clown. I am in the process of transferring him over to the QT, but am not sure what to do next. <Sounds like a parasitic infection got in its gills. Brooklynella and marine velvet are two common diseases that it could have developed. The former is a common clownfish disease that appears as white mucus on the fish's body. Velvet looks like a light powder across the body of the fish; something easily missed unless you look carefully. Either way, I would treat this fish in your quarantine tank for parasitic infection (unless you determine it to be something else) with a combination of Formalin and malachite green (available together as "Quick cure"), and freshwater dips. Do search our site for quarantine tips and how do a freshwater dip. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks, Claudia

Treating A Sick Clownfish Good evening gentlemen, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I have a False Percula Clown in a 10 g quarantine tank and have had him there for about 3 days. His left gill is open wider than his right gill. It looks like there is a puss sack or something in the lower section of his left gill. I am fairly new to the hobby and I do not know how to determine what the real issue is. I tried to take pictures and he is too fast and I cannot get a good shot to send. He is not eating and has not done so in the past week. I have tried frozen brine, Mysis and flake foods and he will not eat anything. He flashes and darts around the tank and keeps predominantly close to the bottom but comes to the surface on occasion. It has been suggested to me to use Formalin as a dip method over Copper. I read earlier today on here that Formalin is not a suggested method. The article I read the other night said not to use copper either because you could overdose with it too easy. I am confused, what are my options in your opinion and what would you suggest as a preferred method. I have Maracyn and Copper @ 0.15-0.2 in the now but from everything I read, these are not the only medications or method I should be trying. I have read FAQ's on here and I am still not sure which approach to take. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank You In Advance! <Well, in my opinion, copper and formalin are medications that are best suited for parasitic infections. It sounds like you're not sure if what you're describing is a parasite. I'd recommend a search through the WWM FAQs one more time to verify if what you are observing is indeed parasitic. If it is, contrary to what you read, I'd consider a course of treatment starting with freshwater dips of appropriate duration, followed by a standard (i.e. follow manufacturer's recommendations) duration treatment with copper sulphate. I am of the opinion that this is the most effective treatment for parasites. Make a positive ID, and proceed accordingly! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Possible sick fish I have a African clown fish  I've had him for about 2 weeks, he is very active and my biggest eater.  When I woke this morning I turned on the lights and noticed his eyes went from black to gray it is now 2:16 in the afternoon his eyes are still gray he is not eating and not at all active.  Do you know what it could be.  My other fish are all fine we have a 50 gallon tank with a butterfly fish, small tang, flame fish,3 hermit crabs, tomato clown fish and 4 damsels .the coloring on the African clown is normally very bright and he is now very pale.  I hope you can help thanks <Mmm, well "the eyes are the mirrors of the soul" and a good first place to look in assessing livestock health... but considering the other types of livestock you list having, I don't think the Clown alone would be mal-affected either by environmental or biological disease factors. I would do "the usual", check water quality, perhaps effect a water change... but otherwise just keep an eye on this fish. Do know that wild-collected clowns do VERY often "just die" mysteriously within a few days to weeks of import. Likely collective stress at play here. Bob Fenner>

Hindsight is 20/20 I just wanted to say, your advice saved my clown!  He is alive and  well today after I gave him the 15 minute bath (friends thought I was  nuts!)  In addition, used the same technique for my yellow Hawaiian tang  that had black spot disease (parasites).  Although he could only tolerate  it for 3 minutes, it did the trick! Thanks Very Much! Nadine <Thank you for this mention of what can be "spastic" dipping behavior. Bob Fenner>

- Clown with Black Spots - Hi, my name is Brian. I have a pair of young perculas and lately I have noticed that one of them seems to have these light black markings on them from the top of their back to about midline. it looks like some kind of black dust on them. I read through the FAQs for clownfish diseases and I saw two kind of similar issues so I didn't know what to do. I didn't know if the black was simply their black markings coming out or something not so nice. Water parameters are all regular so do you have any suggestions? <Keep an eye on it... my first guess is changes in coloration as the fish matures, but there are other possibilities. Keep watch on the fish - look for changes in behavior to offer more clues.> Also on a side issue, in the future I was hoping to get an anemone for the clowns and a fu Manchu lion. I read that the lion will grow around 4 inches. In my 30 gal. tank now is the pair of perculas about 1.5 inches, a mandarin dragonet 2 inches or more, and a chocolate chip star fish, along with live rock. <I wouldn't add either one of those to this tank - the anemone will need strong lighting and excellent water quality - not so easy to do consistently in a 30 gallon tank. Likewise, even though the lionfish stays small it will still eat and make messes like a big fish.> Do you think the lion will try to eat any of the inhabitants or any of the inhabitants will pick on the lion? <No.> I didn't know since he was going to be small like everyone else. Thanks for any help you can give me. Have a good day. <Cheers, J -- >

- Sick Clownfish? - Hello crew.  Just started noticing something on the side of one of my false clowns.  I have included a photo, and drew a circle around the area in question. <I see it.> I am not sure if it is growing yet, and just looks like black stuff on her side.  She has been eating normal, and very active so far.  I am going to begin to monitor it, but wanted to drop you a line, because your advice/idea are always the best, and very timely responses. <Hard to be 100% certain what that is... photo is a little blurry. Could be just a scrape, could be something pathogenic. Do agree that you should keep this under observation for now - hold of doing anything drastic unless symptoms change.> Thanks in advance.  Steve <Cheers, J -- >

- Clown Problems - This is a picture of my clownfish... the first one is when I purchased him a month ago and the second is a picture I took today. <Hmm... I can't tell the difference between the two - the fish even seems to be in the exact same spot.> Hi! Hopefully you can help me. About a month ago, I purchased a false Percula clownfish and added it to my 5 gallon tank. He is the only fish in there. When I fish bought him, he always ate freeze dried brine shrimp. He never took to eating the color flakes that the fish store recommended. Now I have noticed that he is breathing heavy and stopped eating. I have also noticed that his color is fading! Since this is the first fish tank and fish I have ever had, I'm not sure what to do. Please help. Thank you, Sabrina <Sabrina, do consider taking a water sample down to the store for a test. Just going by the photos, it would appear that the gravel and decor you have for this tank is absolutely inappropriate for a marine system. Likewise, based on the age of your tank, I do think you have not yet completed the nitrogen cycle in your tank, and unfortunately the initial stages of this cycle can be toxic for fish. A water test will confirm this one way or another. Here's some reading for you in the interim: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marineSetUp.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm Cheers, J - >

Chet the Baby Got Spanked >After spending 2 weeks in quarantine... >>Which is NOT long enough, 30 days is minimum protocol. >Chet the baby (2" X 1" in size) was finally able to go the big tank. My husband already has 2 clownfish that are much bigger (5" X 3").   >>Uh oh.. >48 hours has passed and Chet is now back in quarantine... A.K.A the safe house. His top fin and tailfin now look like feathers... yes I saw the big bullies attacking him repeatedly.  Now what? >>You won't be able to put this fish back in the tank, they'll kill him. >Is he injured badly, just stressed?  HELP! My husband's tank only has these two monsters for fish right now, as we've only had the tank 6 to 7 months.  AMY >>He is injured, definitely, if his fins look like feathers.  Watch him carefully, give him vitamin soaked foods (I like Selcon), and have a good antibiotic on hand in case he looks like he's going downhill.  I like Spectrogram for most instances.  Also, know that because you already have two large clowns, you're going to have a very difficult time adding other fish.  Tank size and species are also determining factors in clown aggression (these fish can be real "d**kheads").  Marina

Possibly sick clown - nonspecific symptoms I'm looking for advice on possible diagnoses and treatment for a possibly sick clown fish in my reef tank.  I've read as many of the FAQs on your site as I can, but the trouble is, the symptoms are rather non-specific so I'm looking for reactions on what to try.  Overall, I'm afraid I "shocked" the fish when doing a water change and so wonder if I can/should do anything other than let him be.<just let him be!!>  The message below is long in the interest of completeness. Tanks specs are as follows.  75G, 100Lbs LR, tank's been stable for 8 weeks with ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, ph 8.2-8.3.  The inhabitants include 2 3-stripe damsels, 1 true Percula clownfish, 1 royal Gramma, 1 rock blenny.  Also 2 emerald crab, 3 peppermint shrimp, 1 fire shrimp, 1 black cucumber, about 40 snails, 1 xenia coral.<Ok> The concern is for the Gramma and clownfish, especially the clown.  They've both been in the tank and doing well for a while, the clown and damsels have been there 8 weeks, the Gramma about 6, the blenny about 3.  Today is Saturday; on Thursday I noticed the clown mainly just hovering in one spot near the bottom rather than swimming all over as he usually does.<he is probably still stressed.>  Also starting on Thursday, I started to not see the Gramma very much (he's alive, but has been visible maybe 2x a day rather than swimming around). <they are reclusive fish, I would not be concerned, unless he doesn't eat> The Gramma looks normal when he comes out.  On the clown, I can maybe see some things that could be wrong, but it's hard to tell:  his dorsal fin is lowered (this isn't normal for him), he has one dark grayish spot on one side (but he's had that there for at least a couple of weeks), he maybe has some growth inside/on his top lip but it's hard to tell, and he maybe has a couple of white spots on one side (they are NOT all over), but I think I have noticed a spot or two before and it hasn't bothered him.<he might be bumpinghis mouth on the glass...resulting in a sore. I would keep a close eye on him and I would not treat him for ich/parasites until you know for a fact that he does indeed have it.>  No white fungus all over, no thready stuff.  Neither the clown nor the Gramma is eating well the past day or two, certainly not like usual, as they usually come right out and chase as much food as they can when I put it in.<well as long as they are eating. that is a good sign. its when they completely stop when you will have problems.> Friday I set up my quarantine tank with anti-fungal medicine, and tried to catch the clown (Friday and today), but couldn't (he retreated into the rock).  I hate to terrorize him with further chasing.<agreed> The only thing I can think of that happened about this time is that I cleaned the tank of algae, stirred up quite a bit of detritus for a bit, and did a pretty big water change (about 20% total, fighting algae) over Tuesday and Wednesday evening.  In hindsight (blech), I suspect that on the Wednesday change I didn't heat up the replacement salt water to near tank temp, and so I am afraid that I "shocked" the fish with a temporary temperature drop.<this is a possibility>  Could this be making them behave oddly?  I've read about shock bringing out dormant parasitic infections and wonder if this is explaining what I see on the clown.<could be>  Then the real question is what to do -- keep working to corner the clown and get him out to medicine, or just leave them in, keep calm, and hope they make it?  The water quality still tests as good per above.<just leave him for a few days...and if you see ich or any other malady that needs treatment. then you can proceed from there> Grrr... I thought I was past the hard part of the tank setup/learning curve and onto successful fish-keeping.  Thanks for the advice, and your great website.<your welcome, good luck, IanB> Thanks, Scott

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.>

Aftermath of A Parasite? (Follow-up) Scott, <Hello again!> Thank you very much for your help! The clown's fin is doing fine now, without intervention, but it is great knowing that you all are here for us. Thanks again, Kristy <Thanks for the kind words! Glad to be of assistance! Scott F>

Not Clowning Around >Hello, >>Hi. >I have just set up a 65 gal reef aquarium about 2 1/2 months ago with 90 lbs of live rock and live sand, it has been cycling for the past 2 1/2 months. Friday I had the water tested and was told that it would be fine to add fish at this point because all the test they did indicated so. >>Does this mean that you cycled fishless? >I bought two clown fish and brought them home and added them to my tank. >>No quarantine, eh? >the first two days they did great but today I noticed that the smaller of the clowns seems to be acting weird, he is hovering near the bottom of the tank and it looks like he is breathing hard, there seems to be a small white film on one side of his head, the larger fish is looking healthy and not breathing hard he looks very healthy, When I fed the fish today they both ate very well and the smaller one seemed to perk up a bit. is this normal for new fish is a new tank or is there a potential problem? Thanks, Mike >>Definitely a potential problem, sounds like it's gone beyond potential and is already a problem.  I'm thinking one of two things - Brooklynellosis, or Amyloodinium (clownfish disease - thought it's not necessarily specific to clowns - or marine velvet).  Please do a search on these diseases, as I feel you'll need to get a hospital tank set up so you can act quickly.  Marina

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