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FAQs on Marine Ich, Cryptocaryoniasis & Treating Sensitive Fishes: Gobies, Blennies, Mandarins & Kin

Related Articles: Marine Ich: Fighting The War On Two Fronts Cryptocaryoniasis, Parasitic Disease, Quarantine, Quarantine of Marine Fishes

Related FAQs: Mandarin Disease/Health Blenny Disease, Goby Disease, Dartfish Disease, Best Crypt FAQs, Crypt FAQs 1, Crypt FAQs 2, Crypt FAQs 3, Crypt FAQs 4, Crypt FAQs 5Crypt FAQs 6, Crypt FAQs 7, Crypt FAQs 8, Crypt FAQs 9, Crypt FAQs 10, Crypt FAQs 11, Crypt FAQs 12, Crypt FAQs 13, Crypt FAQs 14, Crypt FAQs 15, Crypt FAQs 16, Crypt FAQs 17, Crypt FAQs 18, Crypt FAQs 19, Crypt FAQs 20, Crypt FAQs 21, Crypt FAQs 22, Crypt FAQs 23, Crypt FAQs 24, & FAQs on Crypt: Identification, Prevention, "Causes", Phony Cures That Don't Work, Cures That Do Work,  Products That Work By Name: Free Copper/Cupric Ion Compounds (e.g. SeaCure), Chelated Coppers (e.g. Copper Power, ), Formalin Containing: (e.g. Quick Cure),  About: Hyposalinity & Ich, Treating for Crypt & Sensitive Fishes:  By Group: Sharks/Rays, Morays and other Eels, Wrasses, Angels and ButterflyfishesTangs/Rabbitfishes, Puffers & Kin...  &  Marine Parasitic Disease, Parasitic Marine Tanks, Parasitic Reef Tanks, Marine Velvet Disease, Biological Cleaners, Treating Parasitic Disease, Using Hyposalinity to Treat Parasitic Disease, Infectious Disease

Anything wet can transport Crypt, other pathogens

Mandarin dragonet as a vector    6/27/13
Hi crew!  I know you have probably answered this question but I am unable to find it. Three weeks ago my mandarin dragonet was in the main tank with a flame angel and a watchman goby. The flame angel began showing signs of some disease. I wasn't sure what it was at the time, Ich or Brooklynella. Within 2 days I pulled all the fish out and put them in QTs. The mandarin went into a separate QT. Turns out it was brook.  He has shown no signs of it.
<Very common for Callionymids not to show symptoms of external parasite infestations... they're very slimy... But, the parasites ARE still there>
 I would like to move him into another QT that has already cycled and has live rock/pods but does house another fish. Is it possible this mandarin could be hosting this parasite without showing symptoms and infect the other fish?
<Ah yes>
 At what point does one consider the fish "safe/clean" to house with others?
<Well; more a matter of "degrees of likely safe"... the universe is rarely very discreet. Have I had you read through the parasitic system FAQs on WWM Jen? I would wait at least four weeks... more if the animal/s appear okay, are eating, the treatment/isolation systems not too hard to maintain.>
 Thank you, Jen
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mandarin dragonet as a vector    6/27/13

I have read through a ton of information but all have to do with removing (or not) a non symptomatic fish from the main.
<Ah, then this will be it (our bit of corr. here)>
This fish was removed immediately and has been in a QT by himself for 3 weeks. I agree that the QT is not hard to maintain, but I have 4 QTs going at one time along with the main. It is becoming very time consuming. 
I do appreciate the answer and left the little guy alone in his tank. I will wait another week or so before contemplating this move. Well I'm off to buy more copepods for him. Thank you again, Jen
<Excelsior! BobF>

Mandarin Dragonet and Ich -- 01/28/09
I just got a new Mandarin Dragonet a few days ago for my 125 gallon tank with pods all over the glass. Currently all of my fish are in quarantine to break the Ich cycle in my main tank.
I know you guys are not in favor in prophylactic treating or quarantining these because of the food issue and stress. I know they have a thick slime coat that prevents them from getting parasites like Ich, but they can carry it. My question is if I put him in the display with no other fish will the cycle of Ich break after 30 days if the Ich does not penetrate his slime coat and make him sick?
<That should be fine, the parasite needs an acceptable host to continue its lifecycle.>
I would like to rid my main tank from Ich once and for all if possible. I went through a lot taking my tank apart, chasing fish, and putting it back together. I also lost many fish in the process. I almost wonder if the treatment killed the fish and if it would of been better to leave them in the tank.
<That really depends on the severity of the infection, often lowering stress levels and improving the food quality can help fish beat the Ich.
However now that fish are out please don't rush things, finish waiting and be done with it.>
Not surprisingly my Mandarin is not eating. I tried brine and Mysid shrimp so far. I was going to try blood worms next. He does not seem to be starving yet, should I keep trying or put him in the display tank?
<Personally I would put him in the display. Did you just purchase this fish, or did you remove him at the same time as the other fish?>
Before I put him in the display I need to know if he will carry Ich into the main tank and prevent the Ich cycle from being broken.
<I would move him to the tank, but start the waiting after he goes in since you could be transferring in the parasite with him.>
Ich has been a real problem for me and I want to rid my tank if it, it is important! I have had much better success with hard to keep corals and invertebrates than with damsels and yellow tangs because of Ich. My quarantine is 55 gallons and I was using copper, but have since switched to hypo and add antibiotics to prevent secondary infections. This seems to work better (fewer dead fish).
<Excellent>Yes, I was testing the copper if you were wondering. I think my problems before was the secondary infections and maybe PH dropping over night from not enough O2.
<I hope you are running a bubbler and keeping adequate flow in the quarantine tank.>
Thank you,
<You're welcome,
Josh Solomon>

Re Mandarin Dragonet and Ich  -- 01/29/10
<Hello again.>
Yes, I just got the Dragonet a few days ago and he was not one of original fish taken out of the display.
<In my opinion the ideal situation would be for you to return this fish until you are done with your treatment. I am not sure why you purchased a fish that does not do well in quarantine when you have removed all the fish from your display tank.>
He is currently in the quarantine with the rest of the fish at hypo. The LFSs around hear seem to have Ich most of the time, so I am sure he is carrying, but was not worried since my quarantine is already at hypo. So I will put the Dragnet in the display and he will be the only fish in there.
After 30 days I can start putting the rest of this in without fear of Ich.
You are sure this will work and break the cycle of Ich in the display tank?
<Am I sure, I'm never sure. It sounds like you had quite the Ich problem, however there is often Ich exposure every time you bring something home from your LFS. A large part of the battle is keeping the animals healthy and low in stress so they can fight off the parasite on their own.
What I can tell you with more certainty though is that if you keep the non-eating mandarin in quarantine for 30 days he will likely be dead at the end of it.>
Yes, I have a bubbler and current in the quarantine. The change I made was to leave the lid open and point the power heads towards the surface to break the surface tension. Thinking of adding another bubbler to be safe.
I have Hydor Ario 4, but the fish seem to hate the micro bubbles, so I don't use it.
<Good luck,
Josh Solomon>

Regarding Mandarin question on January 28th 2/2/2010
<Andy B.>
I was reading the dailies and came across Josh Solomon's response to "Mandarin Dragonet and Ich -- 01/28/09". The person posing the question states that he just got a Mandarin for his 125 g, but then goes on to state that the tank is running fallow because of Ich. He asks whether it would be okay to place the Mandarin in the tank. Josh responds that placing the fish would be okay, "as Ich needs an acceptable host."
First, why would anyone obtain a fish that they know does not do well in QT at a time when the tank is running fallow? To me, that is pretty irresponsible. From his comments, the poster seemed to have done his homework on dragonets, so he's not clueless. Impatience? People should really think hard about animal purchases (or even gifts) before pulling the trigger.
<I agree completely.>
Second, I don't agree with Josh. I have seen many a Mandarin covered in Ich. They are - can be - an acceptable host. Although they have a heavy slime coat that decreases the chance of infestation, given the right conditions (e.g., stress of capture and move + usually underfed/starving at LFS + an Ich infested display), there is a very good chance that the fish will become infested and die.
I think the better response to this poster would have been to take the fish back and to think the next time you buy.
<I appreciate your thoughts on this, however if you read the follow up emails exchanged, I asked when the fish was purchased and did in fact encourage him to return the fish. However when returning is not an option, then my personal opinion is that the mandarin had a better chance of survival in the display tank than spending thirty days in a sterile tank.>
Just my $0.02.
Andy B
<Thank you for your thoughts on this,
Josh Solomon.>

Mandarin/Gas Bubble q -- 11/23/2009
Hi Folks,
<Hey Rebecca! JustinN here!>
I have been searching the net as well as your site since last night and into this morning. I am under the impression from my research that my new mandarin has GBD. I had started him out in my 20 gallon quarantine. It was not topped up and the hang on filter was dropping the water about 3 inches to the water surface. I thought nothing of it at the time as I was more concerned about the fish not feeding while in quarantine.
<A valid concern -- many bypass a quarantine altogether with this fish for this reason (though I am of the mindset that if you are going to attempt a mandarin, quarantine is the best place to attempt to wean them onto prepared foods... if it works at all.)>
Aware of their resistance to Ich (I know that they are not immune), I decided to get him into the display where he could eat. He did great at first, making himself a little cubby to hang out in and eating off of the live rock. Later in the day I noticed bumps under the skin, not white. I am familiar with Ich and did not think that it was Ich but panicked and put him back into the quarantine system and corrected the set up flaws. Now I am wondering if he would be better off in the main display?
It has been set up for 2 years now with a refugium in anticipation of this particular fish and houses one yellow tang as well as some corals. 55 gallon with deep sand bed, full of live rock (forgot the actual poundage), 20 gallon sump style refugium with remora skimmer
Rebecca Bray
<A 55 gallon is not optimal for a Yellow Tang, but being that it is the only fish in the tank, it should be ok. Continued correspondence is below...>

Re: Mandarin/Gas Bubble q -- 11/23/2009
Just called the LFS. The remaining mandarin that came in with mine has the same bubbles under the skin. Theirs is listing to one side.
Rebecca Bray
<Sounds like a problem from the get-go -- I would remove this fish before it becomes a major problem or causes issues for your other pet-fish.>

Re: Mandarin/Gas Bubble q -- 11/23/2009
Close inspection of the bubbles with a light and magnifying glass show that there are 3-4 distinct white spheres in each bubble. Snail eggs?
Is that possible?
Rebecca Bray
<Mmm, not real likely, though I don't know a specific identification for you here. I would remove/return this fish to the LFS -- since they are seeing problems on the one in their care, I would be surprised if they tried to argue against this. Good luck! -JustinN>

Re Mandarin with bubbles -- 11/23/09
I was able to get a close up of the "bubbles" early this morning.
( Notice along the edges.) His color darkened up after the light was on awhile. He is still eating and is alert and active. I could return him to the LFS but I am afraid he will just perish there.
<Rebecca, I will send this msg. on for response, but are you able to make a side view image of this fish? Bob Fenner>
Mandarin with bubbles
These are the closest I have to a side view for now. He has become apprehensive of me. let me know if you need better shots.
Rebecca Bray
<Mmm, can't make out much more... because both specimens (yours, the stores) are exhibiting the same symptom, I suspect there is some commonality in how they've been handled... is the raised area part of the
lateralis system e.g.? About all that can be done now is provide good care (water quality, nutrition mostly) and wait and hope. These (Callionymids) are tough little fishes, though they appear not to be. Bob Fenner, whose friend Rob Bray owns House of Fins in Greenwich, CT>

Mandarin with bubbles 11/24/09
Thanks Bob. The bubbles are not directly related with the lateralis system. They are scattered about randomly. I am taking a skin scrape with me to Mystic today along with enlarged photos to see if I can
figure anything out with the Quarantine specialist. No relation to Rob Bray but I did have a former intern go to work for House of Fins.
Rebecca Bray
<Ahh... these don't appear to be resultant from gas embolism, and this family of fishes have very reduced gas bladders, so, not likely a matter of too-rapid ascent from collection (this and the other common Psychedelic Gobies are gathered in pretty shallow water... and with little "spears", not chemicals generally...). Bob Fenner>

More re: Mandarin with bubbles 11/24/09
Hi Bob,
<Good morrow (here) Neale!>
> For what it's worth, my guess would be a thicker-than-normal mucous layer collecting bubbles from the water and perhaps silt from the substrate. The question is why is this dragonet reacting thus, and given its behaviour has changed as well, some investigation of environmental conditions, tankmates, diet, etc. may be in order.
<Is a good guess in my estimation... as this group of fishes is remarkably
"slimy"... but having enlarged the original pix as much as I can, these "bubbles" look almost granular in detail... not like a gas at all. If they weren't so apparently transparent, my guess might be that they were "sand grains" attached with mucus.>
Have seen similar with pufferfish (which also have very small scales and thick mucous layers) after doing things like changing out all the substrate in the aquarium. Puffers recover within a day or two, but then they're hardy, adaptable fish that think with their stomachs. May be different with species only marginally tolerant of captive conditions and less inclined to eat adequately.
> Cheers, Neale
<I'll send on this corr. to Ms. Bray. Cheers! BobF>

Re: More re: Mandarin with bubbles 11/24/09
Thanks for the input from Neale. I did a skin scrape today and took it along with my pics to Mystic. They are stumped as well. I did not get a good enough scrape to see anything under the scope (first experience). When I did the scrape however I went over the bumps on the one side and it did not affect them at all so I can't imagine they were collected from the water. (There is silt on occasion.) None of them ruptured. The other mandarin that was delivered to the LFS with mine still has the same symptoms. They came in with whatever this is. He is still alert and very active and eating away at the live brine, Arcti pods, and pods from the main display that I am importing to the quarantine.
<I can't pretend to be an expert on dragonets, so Bob'll want to comment in detail on your observations I'm sure. But if multiple specimens are showing thicker than normal mucous layers, it might be a result of shipping stress; exposure to some noxious chemical somewhere along the line; or else a contagious infection of some sort (what in freshwater fishkeeping tends to get called "Slime Disease"). This latter appears to be some type of protozoan infection (Costia) analogous to Whitespot/Ick, but different, and somehow triggers excessive mucous production that appears as slimy grey patches on the body. The last time I dealt with Slime Disease on freshwater (on a pair of newly purchased Carinotetraodon irrubesco) I performed two seawater dips a day apart on each fish, and treated the tank with a product called eSHa 2000, which treats against various external microbial infections (Finrot, Fungus, etc.) more because that's what I had to hand than anything else. Both puffers got better very quickly; indeed, the seawater dips seem to shift the excess mucous within hours of treatment.
After a few days, both puffers were completely healthy, and while an accident on my part killed the male, the female is still happily swimming about the tank now, three years later. Because freshwater puffers have an extremely high tolerance for salinity, I dipped them for 20 minutes, and this may also have helped dehydrate any external protozoan parasites. In any case, Bob may be able to say whether freshwater dips would be helpful in this case. While I don't imagine a 20 minute freshwater dip would be safe for Synchiropus, some shorter period of time may well be. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: More re: Mandarin with bubbles 11/25/09
Thanks Neale. I've been considering a freshwater dip as well although I know how dangerous they can be for mandarins. I will be interested in Bob's opinion.
<Mmm, not dangerous, but not generally useful for these sorts of complaints>
The only form of "safe" treatment that we could come up with yesterday was elevated temperature and hyposalinity.
<I wouldn't do this either... just time going by, good care... will hopefully see these apparent pinocytic cysts resolve>
I currently have the quarantine at 80 degrees F and I lowered the specific gravity to 1.017 last night. I do believe that I am seeing an improvement this morning. The most noticeable bumps are smaller. He was sloughing off a lot of slime coat this morning but is still as active as ever. I appreciate the continued support from everyone on the site. It's great to have the resource.
Rebecca Bray
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: More re: Mandarin with bubbles  11/26/09
Thanks Neale. I've been considering a freshwater dip as well although I know how dangerous they can be for mandarins. I will be interested in Bob's opinion.
<Mmm, not dangerous, but not generally useful for these sorts of complaints>
<<Thanks for this Bob. I did wonder if the saltwater dips were purely cosmetic, shifting the mucous, and the Puffers recovered under their own steam. Always difficult to know whether it's time or the treatment that
worked! Cheers, Neale.>>
<<In this case the former. BobF>>

Re: More re: Mandarin with bubbles  11/26/09
That sounds like good news. Can I put him back in the main display or may this be parasitic?
<Highly unlikely to be parasitic. I would place this fish in the main display. B>

Re: More re: Mandarin with bubbles 11/29/09
Hi Bob, Well the mandarin went into the main display on Thanksgiving and today we have a full blown Ich infestation. It is most apparent on the tang it just didn't present as Ich on the mandarin. Shall I quarantine the 2 and let the main go fallow?
<... all need to be moved to treatment>
I seem to have trouble keeping my ammonia under control in the quarantine. Any suggestions?
Rebecca Bray
>Reading. B<

Treatment for marine Ich and marine velvet infestation combination  11/28/09
Hi bob and crew ! First of all i thank you for this great site and for painstakingly answering us hobbyists tiresome questions. I am a medical student from hot and humid Bangalore, south India. I own a 30 gallon reef tank with a few corals, live rock, crushed coral substrate, a venturi skimmer, an external canister filter and metal halide lighting. The piscine inhabitants are a 2 inch regal blue tang, a 3 inch yellow tang,
<Both these will need more room, particularly the Paracanthurus>
a blue streak cleaner wrasse that feeds on brine shrimp and even flakes and occasionally cleans the fish,
<And this Labroides dimidiatus won't live long or well in this setting either>
a yellow watchman goby and a bicolour blenny. Water parameters are : nitrates 05 ppm, ammonia and nitrites 0 ppm, ph 8.2, ca 400 ppm, trace elements are dosed regularly, sp.gr of 1.024 is constantly maintained and temp is under control. I know this is over crowded but i am shifting them all to a 210 gallon tank in Singapore where i reside.
<Ahh! Let us hope all will be well in time then>
Due to constant harassment from the yellow tang, the hippo or regal tang has been under a bit of stress lately and consequently has been infected by Cryptocaryon and Amyloodinium ! I've detected a bit of the infestations on the other fish as well. The hippo tang keeps scraping itself on the rocks and aside from that it feeds well and swims actively. I ve currently shifted all of them to a qt. I know that a combination of hyposalinity, freshwater dips, copper medication and increase in temperature will cure the Amyloodinium.
<Not likely here, no>
But i do not know if this treatment will cure the Cryptocaryon as well. Do i have to separately treat them for the Cryptocaryon?
<Mmm, no... copper compounds can cure both, however the system itself is not conducive to success here... Absorbing the medication, being stressful>
Pls do advice on this regard. Also I've heard that gobies and blennies are notoriously sensitive to such treatments. How do i treat them?
<Actually... better to treat all with CP... a Quinine compound. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/quinmedfaqs.htm>
I do not want any causalities due to my over indulgence in treating them.
Your advice and guidance is highly appreciated as i know you are very busy people. Thank you. Blesson
<Do look about there at school to see if you can secure Chloroquine Phosphate... and soon... and the use of a gram scale. Bob Fenner>

How to QT a mandarin for Ich? 7/6/08 Hi there guys! Hope all is well with you over there! <Thus far> I've read your FAQs already, and it's said that mandarin's have a slimy toxic coat but can also harbor the Ich parasite. <Seems to> How can I QT a mandarin with hyposalinity <I wouldn't> for 6 weeks to fully get rid of Ich - as these guys don't readily eat pellets, are quite hard to train. Best regards! Jason <Try Chloroquine phosphate... and keep feeding live food. Bob Fenner>

Ick and wrasses/gobies  12/18/07 Hello! <Jonathan> I've been about a month now into the fallow period of my 90G reef tank. I slowly increased the temperature to 85 degrees in that tank and everything handled it very, very well. I've read that that's about tops you can go temperature wise to at least speed up the life cycle of crypt a tad. <Yes> But anyway, my wrasses (now only 2 since my clown wrasse skyrocketed out of my tank during a routine cleaning and didn't survive when he was put back in :( ) both have never had a spot on them and neither has my yellow watchman goby. I've never been a huge fan of dipping my wrasses in the past, because they tend to freak out way earlier and I (again, my own opinion) think that they don't tolerate it near as much as other fish I've had in the past. But back to the main point -- both them and the yellow watchman goby have never had a spot of crypt on them that I could see with my own eyes. It was the more crypt-susceptible fish that, unfortunately, succumbed. They've been in quarantine/hospital for about 3 and a half weeks (and likely at least another 3 weeks) and look absolutely fantastic. Temperature was slowly increased to about 89/90 degrees for a few weeks and has now been reduced to 80 degrees -- in simple hopes to speed up what crypt was likely present in the q.t. But I never saw any white spots at the bottom of the tank so I would have to guess that the wrasses and goby are crypt free, considering I never saw a dead white cyst or free swimmer laying at the bottom of the empty bottom. One would likely be correct in thinking that, correct? <Not necessarily. Easy to miss> The reason I think it never happened is because I re-acclimated the fish to new water in their q.t. tank and the fact that I've never seen a spot of crypt on any of the 3. I'll probably dip both wrasses and the goby on the way back INTO the display after their time in q.t. even though it goes against my view with the wrasses (mainly bad luck a few times with them but no other fish I've had has ever given me a problem with freshwater dips outside of wrasses) just to give some added assurance that the crypt has finally cycled out. -- Jonathan Philpot <We'll see. BobF>

If only..  quarantine, Crypt   3/8/07 Greetings Bob and/or Crew Member. <Hello Brandon here.  Do keep in mind that there are more than just one crew member.> If I'd just done what I knew I was supposed to do (based largely upon information freely available at WWM) everything would've been fine. <Sad but heard so often.> Instead, I was really eager to place my new mandarin into the 125 gal system that I've designed around this particular fish's needs.  In my eagerness, the bad advice from my LFS that mandarins don't get ick due to their toxic slime coat and therefore don't need to be quarantined sounded moderately plausible.  Plausible enough that although my QT was up, running, and ready as it had been for every other swimming thing I've put into the tank, I bypassed it, and dumped the happy healthy looking guy into the display tank. <This mucus only keeps them from getting eaten.> For any and all readers of the Daily FAQs....DON'T MAKE THIS MISTAKE. <Quarantine is something we strongly advocate.> My Powder Brown Tang is now well and truly infected with ick.  Fortunately, he's still eating and looks otherwise healthy, so I'm hoping I have a chance of making this a not-too-painful reminder of proper quarantine habits.  The mandarin, for what its worth, looks very healthy read: plump, although I have at one time or another observed a single white spot here and there. <You will wind up removing all of the fish.> My question is this...I'd like to avoid running copper full time in the QT, so that it can double as a place to put corals etc when not occupied by an incoming fish.  I've made peace with needing to tear down my display in order to get all of the fish removed so as to let the display run fallow, and am hoping that as I remove each fish, I might get the results I'm hoping for by running a freshwater dip treated with copper while en route to the QT for the fallow period. <I would use Methylene Blue in the dip.  Copper will have to be continually monitored.  Please read here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichart2mar.htm.> Based upon my review of the ick FAQs, I'm fairly certain that you'll suggest running the copper in the QT, checked twice daily via proper test kit, for 2-4 weeks with an additional 4 weeks in QT without copper.  <Yep.>  I'm just thinking/hoping that the dip may provide the benefits of copper without the prolonged exposure <Nope.> that may have implications for especially the tang's long term health.  Am also confounded by the prospect of providing proper mandarin food in the presence of copper...pretty sure that can't be done, and would result in turning a plump, if infected, mandarin into another deceased mandarin story.   Perhaps the solution here would be to treat the mandarin as advised on WWM for 2 weeks, then if all is well, find a boarding home for him for the remainder of the fallow period? <Well this is what I was going to suggest, but since you already have, I guess you know what to do. :^P>   Although would feel even worse about pawning the parasites off on a friend. <Treat for two weeks, and then board him with an INFORMED, and willing friend.> Looking for help in achieving the elusive balance here. <I hope that this helps.> Thanks in advance, <You are welcome, Brandon.> Sam

Ich and The Goby   8/30/06 Hello again.   Thanks for the help with bitten Big Mama (RIP).  Now I have an ichy marine question. Though I quarantined my teeny pink skunk clown fish in my partner's ISO tank for 3 weeks, I neglected to (of course) quarantine the 3 green Chromis and 1 reticulated humbug damsel I put in when I first started the tank (i.e., the Chromis and damsel are the original inhabitants).  To date, the Chromis & damsel remain Ich free.  The clowns, OTOH, are most definitely not.  They are covered in Ich (some mornings it looks like I tossed them in my sugar bowl, though they look much better within a couple of hours) and though fire shrimp is doing his best to keep up with it (and my local LFS is out of cleaner shrimp), and we did desperately try NSF (completely useless) as a last resort, the clowns remain ichy.  They are however eating, swimming, no clamped fins and no laboured breathing, no cloudy eyes - they just look like sugary clownfish. <Too likely to become debilitated... killed on next cycle...> My tank is 30 gallons and has about 50lbs of live rock, several hermits and snails, two corals, the fire shrimp and a pistol shrimp, who is best pals with his friend the pink spotted Watchman Goby.  Which leads me to my question(s):  I have set up a 10 gallon ISO tank treated with "CopperSafe" and the fish will be making this their new home for the next 6 weeks after I dismantle all the live rock tonight to catch them (*sigh*) and let the main tank go fallow.  I know Gobies are sensitive to copper and don't want to kill him in the ISO tank, but am afraid if I leave him in the main tank the Ich will have someone to live on. <Will> Goby currently remains Ich-free and was in the LFS for 3 weeks with no problems before I broke down and bought him and pistol shrimp.   The clowns came down with the Ich the day after I added Goby (whom I could not quarantine because the QT tank I was using at the time has a purple tang in it 2/3rds of the way through its quarantine) (complicated, yes, sorry).  Plus I had read that Gobies were pretty disease resistant.  Goby does not bother anyone in the tank, so I don't think he is stressing out the clowns.  My water has been excellent and no fishy deaths. 1) Is Goby better off in the big tank or the ISO tank?  Can he survive the copper? <I'd move... have to remove all fish/vectors... and treat on the low side of physiological dosing... 0.15, 0.20 ppm free cupric ion> 2) If I leave him in the main tank, is he going to host the dreaded Ich cycle so my fish can never return? <Yes> 3) If I do separate him from his friend Pistol Shrimp  for 6 weeks does that mean the relationship is over, or will absence make the heart grow fonder? <Will become re-acquainted on return> 4) How long before I can consider the Chromis Ich-free and return them safely to the LFS, as I don't really wish to keep them. <A month or so. Bob Fenner> Thanks so much. Sheena

- Ich, Quarantine, and a Mandarin Dragonette - Hi, I just found out about this website, thank you for the hope you offer my fish!  I have a complicated question, and don't want to overload your system, but I tried to include as much background as I thought might be relevant.  And probably forgot to include some too. I have myself and my fish in a corner by simply reacting and not studying up. I thought my fish would be covered with Ich and die in 3 days if I didn't get some meds in the tank right away.  I went down to the LFS and was given a choice of 3 medications and no idea what they would do.  I started the treatment that night with Kick-Ich.  The next day I started searching and found your site. On your advice a 20 gal tank for quarantine is set up and running now.  (not on your advice) I also bought a 15 w UV sterilizer.  When I installed the UV I noticed my skin burning from the display tank water.  (Kick-Ich?)  After reading your opinion on this I stopped after 2 treatments.  Also the snails become unconscious??? in the display lying fully exposed on the sand so I moved them to the QT. <Would expect the snails to react negatively to the Kick-Ich. Would just remove them period... certainly not to quarantine where you might need to treat the tank with something that might just outright kill the snails.> I have a 5 year old 60gal. tank, not sure but 50 or so pounds live rock, 3" sand/gravel bed wet/dry filter and sump (have photos if you want)  2-tube 40 watt light fixture Salinity 1.020; ammonia 0;  PH 8.3; Nitrates under 10 (the kit is only in increments of 10) I have an AquaC skimmer but have not used it since the (Grrr) Rio pump quit. The tank has been pretty stable for a year or so.  I have a Percula Clown, Yellow Tang, 2 green Chromis Damsels, some snails and BL hermits.  A couple of weeks ago I added a coral beauty and a mandarin dragonet (who has been eating well from day one though I am watching him carefully)  The coral beauty was not so lucky, she was stressed out from the move and hid for 3 days.  When I finally chased her out I could see she was in trouble, one eye cloudy and a clamped fin complete with white spot starting where the black spot was.  In addition I could see the white specks on her.  The previous inhabitants had some spots for a few days but not now, but both the mandarin and the coral beauty have spots and ALL fish are twitching and chafing.  The white patch on the angel is turning black again and the eye is better, but the spots are there the same from the day I first noticed them, more in the morning, less in the evening. I hope the preceding was not too much, but now I need a course to follow.  I plan to freshwater dip the fish, mandarin last, and place most in the QT. Mandarin goes to the new 10 gal I will set up for him.   I have Formalite 2 to treat the QT, but not the mandarin?  I will do a large water change, (aerating a.k.a.) on the display.  I think I need a separate QT for the mandarin and have read your answers to this dilemma, or should I leave him in the main tank? <I would quarantine the Mandarin.> I would like to go a month with no fish in the display but I refuse to sacrifice this little guy to starvation. <That may happen no matter what - your tank is too small to support one of these fish long term, even if it were the only fish in the tank.> (working on a refugium solution).  Am I on the right track? <Sort of, but I wouldn't let your whole world hinge around a fish that was a poor selection in the first place. I'd go ahead and try isolating all these fish and continue to attempt to keep all the fish eating, including the Mandarin. Go ahead with the pH/temperature-adjusted freshwater dips for all and keep under observation.> Thank you for your time.  Kevin. <Cheers, J -- >

Treating Ick On A Touchy Fish Hi Bob and Crew, <Scott F. checking in tonight> I am writing to you because I have a Mandarin dragonette that seems to have fallen victim to a case of Ick that has already claimed the life of a Kole tang in my 72 Gallon Reef tank. I fear that the Ick is preventing "Manny" from foraging for food and he is starting to really feel the effects of this parasitic disease. I am not sure if I should treat him as I would another fish of take exception to the fact that he is extremely delicate and only feeds on a diet of copepods and amphipods. What steps would you take in order to rid him of the Ick parasite? Any help or advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated in this matter. I am thinking of treating him with Methyl-Blue in a small quarantine tank. Is this the best course of action or would this do more harm than good? <Well, Methylene Blue is really better as an anti-bacterial, and would probably have little effect on a parasitic disease such as ick. However, if you're leery (and rightfully so!) about subjecting an otherwise touchy fish to aggressive medications, then you might want to utilize hyposalinity in the treatment tank. I am not a big fan of this technique, but I have utilized it with delicate fishes with some degree of success. Do read up on this technique on the WWM site> I got him as a rescue out of a barren 10 gallon tank from a friend at my LFS. I would do anything I can to save him, as he is a really beautiful fish. Any help is appreciated - thanks. Jason <Well, Jason- I think that you can save him, but it will take pretty quick action on your part...Get that hospital tank up and running, and start treatment ASAP...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Ich harbor Hi Bob, <Hey Nick> I have had two Blue Hippo tangs die from either Velvet or Ich ( I am not sure of the diagnosis) and there is only one other fish in the tank. He is a small yellow with bluish spots Watchman Goby and he is healthy, eating and has no sign of any problems during any of the deaths. My question is will either of these parasites die off with him in there. I know they will without a host in a month's time but I am wondering if my Goby will act as a miniature "Typhoid Mary" by not getting either parasite but somehow help it continue it's life cycle. <Good question... for me there's too much of a risk that your goby is supplying a low-virulence haven for the parasite/s... I would go the route of removing it to another system, elevating temp., lowering spg. and letting the system go w/o any fish hosts for at least a month... Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasittksfaqs.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks, Nick

Fallow tank question Hi, all... <Scott F. with you this evening> I had a bad outbreak of Ich due to a variety of reasons several months back, and lost all fish in a reef tank. <yuck> I corrected what I think were the problems, but left the tank fallow only for 2 weeks before repopulating with a couple of fish (I'm *trying* to learn patience in this life :)). <It IS a virtue, they say!> Too soon, so I had another outbreak that killed the fish again. Or so I thought. It's now been 4 weeks fallow, and I'm waiting another week before introducing any new fish (which are currently quarantined). The tank seems healthy (the corals are growing and thriving, but they seem lonely :)). However, I noticed that the last bout did *not* kill all the fish - I have a tiny goby that I bought in combination with a pistol shrimp during the repopulation a month back. For the first time in weeks, he poked his head out while I was looking, and he seems fine. There is *no* way to get him out of the tank without completely ripping the tank apart, which is not something I'm willing to do at this point. Is this a setback to the "fallow" program?  <Well, honestly-yes- sigh> He's obviously resistant to Ich - would he still be a "carrier"?  <Certainly a possibility> What are my options? < A really tough call here-prudence would dictate that you remove the goby, too-but...You may just want to wait a few more weeks to see if the Ich manifests itself on this fish. Maybe try some biological cleaners, such as shrimps; reintroduce your fish and hope forth best. It's a risk either way-you just have to make the call that serves "the greater good"> ( After close to 5 weeks, I'm looking forward to getting fish back into the tank. Arthur <You've done a great job being patient-keep up the good work>

Ich in Reef Bob, What is your opinion on fish with light cases of Ich that are maintained in a reef tank. I have heard that in tanks with live rock the fish can cure itself. I have a Midas blenny (you may have recalled my first letter with the Magnum) that will have no spots on him for a few days, and the next day he will have around 12. This has been going on for about a month. He eats like a pig and does not "scratch". What do you think I should do? Thanks, Avery << Definitely try the biological cleaner route... to tip the balance in the host/fish's favor. Do you have any Lysmata shrimp? Room for a couple of Cleaner Gobies (Gobiosoma)... I'd add either/both of these. Bob Fenner>

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