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FAQs on Dips/Baths Methods

Related Articles: Dips/Baths, Methylene Blue, Formalin/Formaldehyde, Quarantine, Tank Troubleshooting, Toxic Tank Conditions, Environmental Disease (incl. Lymphocystis), Nutritional Disease, Infectious Diseases, Parasitic Diseases, Wound Management (/aquarists), A Livestock Treatment System

Related FAQs: Dips/Baths 1, Dips/Baths 2, Dips/Baths 3, & FAQs on Dip/Bath: Rationale/Use, Tools, Adjusting pH, Additives, Iodine/ide/ate, Lugol's Use, Methylene Blue, Formalin/Formaldehyde, Dangers Will Robinson, Products, & Best Quarantine FAQs, Quarantine Acclimation 1, Acclimating Invertebrates, Acclimation of Livestock in the Business

With you in constant attendance... with aeration for all but the shortest duration exposure. Dechlorinated/dechloraminated water... pH and temperature adjusted/matched

Re: Duncan coral flesh damage; plus notes on dips f'       6/23/16
Hi Earl,
You were kind enough to help me with a problem I was have with my Duncan coral and I am happy to say it has fully recovered so thank you for that:)
<Good to hear and you're welcome.>
I have been reading on wet web the last 3 nights about dip/baths because I would like to do a freshwater/Methylene blue dip on some new fish that I got and I feel I completely understand the process other than the type of fresh water to use, I am confused about weather you would use RO/DI or dechlorinated tape water as the fresh water, I know that you should match the PH and temp but which of the two water sources is best.
<Full disclosure: first time I did a freshwater dip back in the day (decade+) I overlooked the pH bit and it was a bad experience, although the fish lived with us for 9 years. My point being, you're on target and have read carefully. I would just use whatever water you normally use. Match temp etc. to the destination environment not the transport/store water. Dechlorinated tapwater is what I use though RO/DI is fine. Oxygenation is also a big *must*...just a plain old "bubbler" airstone or powerhead aimed up top is plenty. Only other tip I can give you is that dips will sometimes freak the fish out and panic ensues, 911 and Homeland Security are called, possibly whoever it is they send to fight off Godzilla. Using a dark-sided container (or just the usual trusty empty salt mix bucket we all have a heap of with a dark towel wrapped around it) will calm things down a bit but sometimes they will try to jump right out so be ready just in case. If you see too much distress, end the process. EZ PZ!>
Thank you so much for your time.
Re: Dip      6/24/16

Thanks again for the quick response and for the tip on using a dark bucket because I over thought the process and specifically purchased clear containers to do the dip in so that I could watch for stress but using the dark color certainly makes sense and you are right I have many empty salt buckets.
Thanks again for your help and thanks for all the great advise that you guys offer on your site, wet wet web is my go to for information and at times entertainment as many if the responses you guys give make me LOL��
< NP, glad to know it's helpful. Having clear containers handy will surely be useful as well (the dark sided containers just have a calming effect and feel "safer", same idea as having cover/shelter in general). Definitely keep close watch but it's a routine process, really. >

Freshwater Dip without Formalin     4/28/15
First, a thanks for all the wealth of knowledge you and your team have provided! I have also read the "Contentious Marine Aquarist" book which was very valuable.
I know that formalin (formaldehyde) and Methylene blue are recommended for FW dips, and that malachite green is not. However, here in Canada I cannot get my hands on any formalin. I can, however, get pure Methylene blue.

There is one product that contains formalin, Rid-Ich+, but it is mixed with malachite green. It claims it "utilizes the less common but also less toxic chloride salt of malachite green", but I'm not sure if that will really make it less harmful. Perhaps its best not to trust it at all?
<The bit of formalin that would come w/ a reasonable amount/concentration of the oxalate-free Malachite... not worth it>
The other product with formalin is a little 2 sided sachet from Blue Life called "Safety Stop". It produces 30 ~ 60 min baths.
<Oh yeah... and that Ariel is a babe; schwing!>
One side is Methylene blue, and the other is formalin. The ingredients say only those two things, but the formalin side has a green colour, so perhaps has malachite green?
<Mmm; nah; think this is Acriflavine>

I'm not sure on that, but perhaps it was just colouring to make the dip clearly visible.
<That too>
Question: how would you proceed to do FW dips? Is Methylene blue plus fresh water sufficient to remove parasites like Brooklynella?
<Usually; yes. The formalin let's say adds another 40-50 percent of surety>
Or should I try the sachet of formalin. It looks like its only a few ml, so would that even be strong enough for a 10 min FW dip, when its meant for 30 ~ 60 min.s of exposure?
<Okay! And do add aeration if using>
I'm asking, because I want to do the transfer-tank-method (TTM) to remove what I suspected was Brooklynella. My two clownfish died, and I have a coral beauty and a blue-green Chromis left that seem totally fine. The plan was to leave the display tank fallow for 2 months, and do this TTM on these two remaining fish before they enter the quarantine tank.
<Sounds good>
Thanks for your help,
P.S. Sorry for the huge wall of text above.
<Summat like the "wall of sound?" Nice. Bob Fenner>
Re: Freshwater Dip without Formalin     4/28/15

Thanks for the quick response. Cheers!
<Welcome! BobF>

Freshwater Dipping Procedures    10/7/14
Dearest Bob & Crew,
<Hey Joe; I say where you goin' w/ that net in your hands?>
Thank you so much for providing such an excellent service to the hobby!
I have been battling marine ich for quite some time. It turns out that the quarantine tank was still infested despite going fallow for 5 weeks and leaving the specific gravity at 1.012.
<Ah yes; as you'll find, I'm not a fan of hypo...>
I have thus torn it down and cleaned with bleach. It's back up and running.
In the meantime, I have stuck with freshwater dipping all in-coming fish with formalin. Some have been tolerating it more then others.
<Yes. MUST be done with you present; aeration... removing sensitive fishes (e.g. small wrasses, Anthiines...) after just a few seconds immersion>
For example, a skunk clown pair tolerated 4 minutes (maybe even longer)
while a Red-headed Salon Wrasse went limp as soon it entered the bath (normal for this species?).
I used common sense and skipped the bath.
I just wanted to see if you would/would not recommend dipping the following species with or without formalin.
Engineer Goby
Starry Blenny
Court Jester Goby
Red Barred Goby
Mandarin Goby
Royal Gramma
Midas Blenny
Yellow Tang
Blue/Green Chromis
<Gobies and Blennioids just a (second) dip; the rest several seconds>
And finally, is freshwater/formalin dipping a general treatment for all marine fish or are there certain species that it should not be performed on?
<Just a matter of less/more duration in a stock solution>
It would be ironic if the fish that we are trying to help are actually being damaged!
<All a matter of degree and trade-offs really. I like to make a comparison w/ the historical (still present in some countries) use of mercuricals and arsenicals to "treat" human afflictions... These poisoned the patient at
the same time as (hopefully) curing them...>
Thanks so much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Freshwater Dipping Procedures     10/7/14

Always a pleasure chatting with you. You have an incisive viewpoint which always gets my gears turning. This must be what it takes to be a nationally recognized author. Kudos!
<I thank you>
Will do so in the future. Through WWM, however, I had read on several occasions, crew saying that dips are only useful after at least two minutes of submersion.
<Mmm; not so in my experience... and don't recall if I've ever seen some sort of "real science" done re... but can/will attest that even very short term dips have resulted in obvious mass shedding of Protozoans, flukes and other worms...>
Are there benefits to the brief second or two dips?
<IME/O, yes>
I'm especially referring to delicate species. It seems like the few seconds of immersion in formalin/freshwater coupled with the possible errors a hobbyist could make (temp. and pH fluctuations in the dip, overdosing of formalin etc.) could be more harmful then good. Just playing devil's advocate.
<I understand, appreciate the notion>
Thanks so much!!
<Again, welcome. BobF>

More loss; personal to commercial Marine fish dip/bath odyssey of discovery       2/12/14
I lost one of the two blue remaining tangs overnight.   They were both active and eating last night in a proper temp, proper SG quarantine tank.  I tested Ammonia at .025ppm and nitrite at zero last night, but I didn't have the resources to so a 20% water change, so I added 2 caps of Amquel and went to bed.   This morning the medium blue tang was dead   Starting with 2 small blue, 1 medium blue, 1 yellow, 2 Flame Angels and a Goby, I have just one small blue tang left and I can't tell if I'm more angry than sad.  And worse, I have no reason to believe I'm not on a death watch for him as well - I certainly can't put him in the main tank.
My first attempt was much better.   I had the group in a 35 gallon hex tank and the blue tangs got massive Crypt, so I immediately went to hypo salinity.  I lost the sickest of the small blue tangs, but every other fish survived and thrived and 4 weeks later I gradually brought the SG back to normal - and two days before I was going to transport them to my son (for his Christmas present) the Tetra heater thermostat stuck and cooked the whole tank.  Lost all of them.
This second batch was an exercise in personal pain as I lost each fish individually with no obvious reason.  I tell you if I could pay for an autopsy on the tang and get the results today, I'd do it.  {sigh}
Anyway the 37% Formalin arrived and completely coincidently the fish store's first direct shipment of 16 purple tangs<Wowzah!>  will arrive sometime today so I'm going to go down to help/advise them but honestly my heart just won't be in it.    Yesterday, in preparation, they were on the net doing research and - as I always fear - came up with other, equally plausible dip/treatment options and are asking questions that I can't answer.   So of course, I turn to you -as if you have nothing better to do. 
By The By... in talking to people and hearing their questions... have you ever had the urge to blurt out "here-just give them to me and let me kill them for you right here and now rather than draw it out over 6 weeks!"?
<All the ding dang time>
1) The dose seems to be 3.75ml of Formalin (37% formaldehyde) to 5 gallons of temp & pH adjusted, aerated  water regardless of below
A) FRESH water dip is 1 minute ... maybe 1Min 15sec but remove the fish at first sign of stress... but no longer.
B) SALT water dip is 30 minutes, maybe 60 if they seem to tolerate it.
<If you'd like/prefer>
My advice to them as that the Fresh water dip adds the osmotic imbalance to help destroy the parasite cysts, whereas a salt water dip would only attack free swimming bugs or, at least, non encapsulated ones.  Might help with gill flukes, etc.  From what you've taught me, a marine/formalin dip is a lot like washing ones hands where a fresh water dip is like sticking them in acetone.   If you have real bugs, use the real treatment.
<Yes; assuredly>
Mark then asked about long term weaker formalin in the quarantine tank<I wouldn't do this. Too toxic for long-term exposure, and no "residual" benefit>
as his previous employer did.  My weeks of experience in tropical fish keeping tell me that exposing your fish to a poison for a long term, even at a lower dose, is going to debilitate the fish and the only time I'd do that is when/if a specific course of treatment for a specific malady required it.
So anyway that's today's questions.   When I get the answers I'll trot off to help kill OTHER people's fish today
<Again; I have "done" the SOP posted on WWM, elsewhere for hundreds of thousands of marine fishes, instigated, instituted the practice with others, facilities at dozens of locations around the world. I DO have high confidence in it being worthwhile. B>

Tang in QT, dips/baths gen. methodology  – 12/02/12
Hi Crew!
  I have a question on dipping vs. quarantine of yellow tangs.  I picked one up 3 days ago and he is in the QT right now.  I've been reading over FAQs and some say to freshwater dip them and put into the main tank. 
Others say freshwater dip and into a QT.  A few years ago I attempted a dip and it freaked me out.  Guess I was doing it wrong.  My question is would it do any good to attempt a freshwater dip at this time and put him back into the QT (with all new water of course)? 
<Mmm, no; best to do such preventative dips/baths twixt moves... to QT, to DT>

Or should I just leave him in the QT for the next month which was my original plan.
<Fine; maybe apply the procedure when moving this fish to your main/display tank>
 He is eating very well, shows no signs of illness and is a curious little thing.  I've already done a water change siphoning the bottom.  Thank you! 
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Tang in QT – 12/03/12

Thank you, Mr. Fenner! Jennifer
<Certainly welcome Jennifer. B>

Fresh Water Dips, O-ring lubing, more to search  11/10/12
Howdy, I am getting my 90 gallon reef ready aquarium with 30 gallon sump really close to getting set up. My 75 pounds of live rock is finally cured.
I looked around and read quite a bit of info about the dips, but I want to verify some things. The LFS said I shouldn't use r/o or r/o / di water stating it will burn them because of the ph. Is that true?
<Can be; yes. Best to use freshwater (as in from the tap) that's dechloraminated (or just set out for a week or so)...>
I'm assuming the salt that you add to the ro/di water changes the ph to a safe level then which is why it's still preferred as a water source??
<Mmm, well, yes... RO/DI is initially in the "sixes" pH wise, coming up to neutral w/ time and/or aeration... I encourage folks w/ "lower pH" freshwater to use simple "baking soda" (sodium bicarbonate) to raise the pH to about 7.8... very safe>
I am looking to get a powder blue tang and a blue tang for my first 2 fish so treating them would be easier, but I would like to avoid getting anything bad in the water since I will hopefully be having corals and other stuff in there eventually. If I fresh water dip them once before placing them in the main tank, it would greatly help out my tank, right?
<In the vast majority of cases, circumstances, yes>
I don't have a quarantine tank I can use. Would a 10 gallon plastic tub be really really bad to use for a tang or 2 for a 2 week quarantine
<Mmm, I wouldn't do this... even w/ a heater, sponge et. al. filter... More stressful than a simple dip/bath and placement to the main/display>
or a future copper bath?
<... see WWM re Acanthuroids and Cu... am NOT a fan>
I know they usually need over 100 gallons or so to be happy. What are your recommendations on what I should do with them?
<Archived on WWM>
With the fresh water dip, I just watch them and take them out as soon as they look like they are getting really wild swimming around or start turning on their side, right?
<Mmm, no; "going on their side" is very typical of almost all dipped/bathed marine fishes... "excessive respiratory/gill movements" might foreshorten the process for me>
A few other questions... I'm wondering if there is anything that would make the rubber gasket on the bulkhead last longer. I have heard just silicone, but is there anything better?
<Silicon "grease"... aka photographic quality... not Silicone as in the sealant>
Petroleum jelly will make the rubber rot away or last longer?
<Dissolve, expand... ruin them>
Do you want a thick dose of silicone on both sides of the rubber gasket and some around the sides to keep the water off it?
<No; just a smooth, thin smear all the way around, placed in a clean, dry setting>
My tank is no where near a water tap, but I would like to keep a 3-5 gallon container next to the sump and use that as a top off system. Do you have a recommendation for a top off system that is reliable and any features you think I would maybe need or want for under $150.
<... see WWM re ATOs>
Sorry for so many questions. Just some last minute things I am worried about before getting the tank set up this weekend. Thank you guys so much for your help and for your time.
<You have good questions, and a perceptive mind... Please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. Bob Fenner> 

Major Concern with Carpenter Wrasse- Please Help, Dip/Bath... duration  - 10/22/2012
I have some major concerns about my first freshwater dip/bath experience this weekend. I was moving my yellow watchman goby, yellow headed goby, and the Flasher Carpenter Wrasse to my main tank of 2 orange clowns and 2 black clowns. I first did the 2 gobies. The freshwater bath went great. They did fine and were transferred to the main tank and seem to be doing well in their new home. The next day I did the freshwater bath for the carpenter flasher wrasse. Once he was placed in the freshwater he looked dead laying on the bottom of the container.
<Not uncommon>
 He hardly moved. I nudged him and he would swim a little then go back to looking dead. I waited to see if there was going to be signs of stress. He then began to swim around some and acting normal. Then after about 12 minutes
<Mmm, this is too long... a few minutes does about as much good as can be done w/ such baths>

 he started going crazy, so I got him scooped up and placed in the container of tank water. When I placed him into his new home and went stiff and lifeless and floated to the bottom. I waited for him to come to, but he turned on his side a little and then coughed up what looked like a white, milky substance. When I saw that I got him out of the main tank and put him in the saltwater container. He never revived. All things were perfect for the bath. The pH matched, the temperature was just slightly warmer than the tank, freshwater had been prepped and dechlorinated.
<And aerated I take it>
My concern is what would this white milky substance be,
<Don't know... tis strange>
 because I have not located it on any symptoms chart. There are zero abnormalities externally on the fish. He looks, or looked, great. I have concern I have now spread something to my main tank. If so, what should I do to prevent something from happening to my 2 pairs of clowns and the two gobies?
<Shorter duration immersion/baths>
And what should I do with the remaining fish in the QT tank, now that one of them has died this way?
<... see above>
 I'm so sick to my stomach to think I have possibly spread something to the others. He was only in the main tank for a short moment, but he did cough something, whatever it is, up.
<Not likely problematical to other livestock>
 I'm at a loss as to what course of action to take, if any, since I'm not sure what it was. You've been so helpful, so I hope you have some recommendation. Thanks as always.
Brent Wells
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Major Concern with Carpenter Wrasse- Please Help  - 10/22/2012

Hello Bob,
Quick follow up about the carpenter wrasse. You say only a few minutes for the bath but the website says 15 minutes to 30 minutes
<On WWM? Where?>
and that you watch for stress, thrashing. What am I missing? Do different fish require different bath links?
<Links? Do you mean lengths, as in time? Yes... some fish groups are far more sensitive than others. Read here:
and the linked files above>
 Where would I find this out? Your recommendation of what I should do with the main tank and the others in the quarantine tank was <see above> but I don't see anything listed above. Can you explain?
<What I had written immediately above...>
Thanks so much

Acclimation and Dips, adjusting for Spg    9/5/12
Dear WWM Crew:
I was just seeking some clarification on acclimation and dipping during the process.  Bob has mentioned in past posts that some very sensitive fish such as leopard wrasse should just be given a PH adjusted fresh water or fresh water/formalin dip.
 With fish being shipped from places such as Live Aquaria, Divers Den and Blue Zoo Aquatics, each company keeps their SG at a slightly different value. Since my display tanks are kept at 1.026, the fish are usually received in water with a SG of between 1.019 - 1.022, depending on where they are being shipped from
<This is so; cheaper to maintain (less synthetic salt mix), higher dissolved oxygen, lowered external pathogen load>
  If you are going to dip and direct place, are you suggesting that the fish get drip acclimated from their shipping bag water SG slowly to meet what is maintained in my display tank and then give the PH adjusted freshwater dip and final placement?
<Yes; this would be better than no adjustment>
 or are you suggesting a direct PH/temp adjusted freshwater dip right from the shipping bag then placement into 1.026 display tank.  I would think that the latter of the two being such an extreme jump in salinity would be much more stressful on the fish and since I am purchasing a potters and a jeweled leopard as well as a male/female Rhomboid pair, I want to make sure I keep the stress level down as much as possible and perform the acclimation and dip properly.
<I do concur, agree w/ your stance. Bob Fenner>
Re: Acclimation and Dips    9/5/12

As always, thank you for the quick reply.  I thought the first option was most likely what you were conveying but just wanted to be absolutely sure with 600 coins in fish
<Thank you for seeking this clarification Tom. BobF>

iodide dip/bath, for Scleractinians    7/11/12
Hello Bob,
I ran out of Seachem Iodine and LFS has no more so I picked up a bottle of Brightwell Aquatics Lugol's solution, upon reading I see that the concentration is 3750mg/oz 126,803 ppm (!!) and each drop will increase iodine by 1,7ppm / gallon. If I want to make a dip/bath for helping coral to recover (stopping RTN and STN) How many drops should I add to how much water? I don't want to overdose as it's a very high concentration.
thanks in advance :D
<Mmm, yes; and though I'm not a giant fan of this format of iodine and potassium iodide... as a supplement, it can/will work for this disinfectant purpose. IF this were a commercial setting, I'd not worry re much at all re actual dosing (in practice I/we really just "squirt it in the transit volume/acclimation container", likely w/ a bucket of freshwater (to lower spg, increase uptake), and a scoop of a simple (hexose) sugar, like glucose... For home hobbyists, I might do something similar, but a short time exposure to some elevated level of Lugol's won't be harmful... I'd up the dosage to 3-5 drops per gallon for a several minute bath. Bob Fenner>

Acclimation Question... actually dips and baths      2/19/12
 Hope all is well. Had a quick question regarding acclimation of Marine angels (specifically Majestic, and Emperor).  If I am understanding your articles correctly you are an advocate of a PH/temp adjusted freshwater dip <bath>
with Methylene blue?  If so how long? 
<Five-ten minutes... with you present, possibly adding aeration>
I might be getting confused.  Are you an advocate of a PH/ temp adjusted formalin dip for a few minutes, or the first one stated?
<These dips are of shorter duration... a minute perhaps... with aeration for sure>
 What is the longest you can freshwater dip a new arriving fish before it becomes counterproductive?
<Quite a long time, depending on the health of the fish/es>
 If the freshwater dip did not show any parasites falling off would observe in the QT (no meds), or would you prophylactically use some medications before going into the display tank?
<If nothing else (no bath, dip otherwise), this is a good choice... w/ or w/o formalin>
Thanks in advance.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Dip  11/1/11
I am receiving a shipment of marine fish. After acclimation I plan to give them a dip/bath in Freshwater & Methylene Blue. They will then be transferred into a quarantine tank with copper for 4 weeks of observation. For the dip/bath I am unsure how long it should be. The last time I did this my fish were calm and seemingly unaffected by the dip. (though I saw parasites leaving the gills of 2 tangs). I took them out after 30 minutes, but they seemed like they would have stayed longer. Is there a maximum
time for a freshwater dip where there is no benefit to continue?
<Mmm, yes, likely about all the good that can be gained from such exposure is about done from five to ten minutes in freshwater. Bob Fenner>
Thank you,

Re: Crypto issue   6/30/11
Hey Bob, maybe you can briefly explain to me what I did wrong.
First off before the CP arrived my Flagfin angel was found under a rock dead... So, I started crushing up the CP with Mortar and Pestle. I then took most of the rock out of the DT to make catching the fish a little less stressful on them and myself :)
I then dipped them one by one in RO, and MB. 10 minutes total for each fish.
<With aeration I hope/trust... RO has no dissolved gas content>
The QT has only been running for about a week, I added Bio Spira to get some bio going as I didn't want to use the infested DT water or any if the bioballs for that matter. I have a bunch of black PVC fittings for hiding and resting in the QT. Bur otherwise bare. When I added the fish, my beloved Flagtail Blanquillo died within the next hour. The Midas blenny then followed leaving me with a Heniochus, Saddleback, and Coral Beauty who BTW seems invincible! Was it the lack of bio that killed them?
<Mmm, don't know, can't tell with any certainty from the data presented>
All other parameters read 0. ph was 8.3 temp was 79... So that really made me think of how I could have avoided these deaths.
My next problem is my Dogface Puffer named "Scooby" who we just adore. He is still in the DT. Knowing that they need an established system to thrive I didn't want to risk putting him in QT just yet. Since all the other fish are out it's like he came back to life. Eating, swimming around in his normal fashion... I'm thinking of having my LFS hold him until I can get the bio up in the QT. Otherwise, I don't think he will survive the process.
I'm almost there! I would just like your expert opinion on what I may have missed during this process.
Hope all is well,
<Ah yes; on my end tis. B>

Double-checking on FW dip procedure: Dips\Baths 7/13/2010
Hi Crew, hope you're done well. :)
<Hi Chris, fine thanks.>
I'm preparing to buy a goby tomorrow. After catching and treating ich (successfully, thanks to you guys) in my quarantine tank with my last new batch of fish, I want to do a freshwater dip this time to avoid that long, drawn-out process.
I've read a lot on your site, and my mind is still processing all the information. I just want to confirm that this is the proper procedure - this might be helpful for other people who are trying to figure out the step-by-step process, also.
1) Use R/O water. Add methylene blue and aerate the water for a few hours prior to the beginning of the dip.
<Methylene Blue or Formalin Either will work, but Formalin is a bit more effective in my opinion.>
2) Adjust the temperature to match the quarantine tank.
3) Adjust the pH with baking soda to match the tank's pH.
4) Drip acclimate the fish in his LFS bag to the QT water, like usual.
5) After the SW acclimation process is complete, put the fish into the freshwater dip for 2-10 minutes, or until he starts to show stress.
<2 - 20 minutes - the longer the better, provided the fish does not show stress. My Coral Beauty happily swam in his FW dip tank for 45 minutes>
6) After that, put him right into the QT.
Is all that correct and in the right order? I think I know what I'm doing, but I just want to make sure I do more good than harm!
<That all sounds fine.>
Thanks a bunch! You guys literally saved my fishes' lives last time I talked to you, and I'm very grateful.
<Glad you find all the information helpful.>
PS: Since this will be some species of sand-shifting goby (don't know for sure yet), I also want to put some gravel in with him. Is that advisable?
Should I use sand coated with algae from my DT, or can I just use fresh, washed gravel?
<Adding sand does help calm the fish down, just realize that should you get a case of ich, you need to remove the sand for treatment..>

Re: Double-checking on FW dip procedure 7/18/2010
Hi there,
<Hi Chris, my apologies, I was sent out of town short notice again.>
Thanks for your swift response and good advice. Today I went out and got a Brownbarred Goby - lovely fish! Unfortunately, I was an idiot and dyed the fresh water before I tested for pH - it wasn't until later that it occurred
to me that blue water would not produce an accurate pH color test result.
I didn't have any more water aerated, and I had the fish sitting there, ready to be dipped, and there was no way I was going to just add baking soda blindly, so I had to skip the step. Although I have a digital pH electrode on my main tank, I didn't want to contaminate it with the quarantine tank water.
So, my question is, is there any point in FW dipping him after he's been introduced? He is already in the quarantine tank and the water is already "contaminated". Should I dip him tomorrow, or would that just be unneeded stress since the QT water is already exposed to him?
<I would just leave him be for now.>
After the 4 week quarantine, if there's no sign of parasites or disease, I'm thinking of FW dipping him prior to placing him into the DT. Any point to that, either?
<A FW dip before introduction to the main tank couldn't hurt either. I always FW dip before and after QT>

Methyl Blue Dip With Achilles Tang/Dips/Baths 4/15/10
Hey guys,
I am getting a 4" Achilles Tang tomorrow direct from Hawaii and I have a QT tank all set up for it.
I also have a Methyl Blue R/O dip waiting. How long should I dip him for.
<Five minutes is fine.>
The water is a dark blue color.
I know you say at least 5 minutes, but I also know that the Achilles is very sensitive. Do you still recommend at least 5 min?
<Sensitive to copper and such. Methylene Blue is relatively non-toxic, safe to use, contains no antagonistic properties.>
Also, how many times should I dip him once in the QT?
One more, Should I dip him before going into my 180g reef tank?
<Mmm, isn't this query what you were alluding to? Yes, one dip, five minutes, then to QT.>
Thanks Guys,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Methyl Blue Dip With Achilles Tang/Dips/Baths  4/16/10
No, should I dip him when I place him in my reef tank to my display tank?
<?? Is the fish going to the reef tank first, then to a display tank?
Original thread states going into the 180 reef.>
I have already dipped him before putting him in my QT tank. Should I dip him again before placing him in my 180g display?
<If the fish looks good coming out of QT, it isn't necessary, will just put additional stress on the fish before going into new surroundings.>
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Methyl Blue Dip With Achilles Tang/Dips/Baths 4/15/10 - 4/17/10
Thanks, sorry about the confusion. Have a great weekend.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Methylene Blue and Fresh Water Baths -- 01/30/10
Hi there,
I wanted to do a dip/bath for an incoming fish and had a question. I read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm but found I still was a bit confused about the process.
<Let's try to make it less so>
When it says to use Methylene Blue and fresh water for dips is the fresh water supposed to be matched in Ph as well as temp and other parameters or is it just the temp?
<Better to try matching pH if possible/practical... Simple Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda), will get you close enough here>
Also I found this product http://www.fishyfarmacy.com/products2.html but it says that its not for use on scale-less fish. I have an Arothron Puffer coming in and wanted to use this method before I put him/her in the QT. My question is, are they saying not to use it for scale-less fish to cover themselves or is there some other reason (change in the chemical maybe) that makes it not safe for scale-less fish?
<A bit of both. Whatever dip media is employed, best to "stand watch", be ready to move the fish/es>
Thank you for your assistances with all of my fish questions. Your time and help is greatly appreciated.
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection... Hyposalinity, WWM, the nature of our "truth"...  7/6/08 Well, I had read on hyposalinity and use of it for curing ich, <... won't work> I haven't asked any questions as of yet that I haven't at least researched quickly first before asking. <Ah, much appreciated for sure... and do know that many folks (including some here at WWM) do advocate hyposalinity as a preventative, cure...> You have no idea how many questions I've wanted to ask <Heeee! Turn about is fair play Grant... I too have MANY questions!> and instead researched for hours to find the answer. To be honest, WWM is kind of contradictory in what it says about quite a few things. <Yes... and "rightly so"... that is to state, there are many areas in our hobby interest here for which there is no one certain "answer", indeed, a good deal of controversy... and as the common progenitor here, my theory/responsibility/decision to encourage all to state their input... WITH as much description, practical background as they deem necessary, have to proffer. Does this seem reasonable to you?> I understand why, it is hard to have a crew of people responding to thousands of questions and have all their answers always be the same. <Ah yes... this and the fact again, that a good deal of what "passes" for fact in peoples lives is so much actual commentary and worse advice... w/o factual presentation first. So outrageous is this view, lack of honesty that the even the press, the garbage which is media "news", the very pres. of the U.S. seems almost totally sans data in his... expectorations.> After all, most of the questions are answered with opinions, <Ahh! Excellent!> and everyone has different ones of those. I researched hyposalinity, quarantine and ich treatment and a lot of the FAQs and articles state that hyposalinity is a good treatment for ich. Some of them say like your reply email that it could just kill the fish. Some say use quinine. Some say use Formalin green, other's say that it is a poison and can kill the fish and hurt the aquarist. It's hard to get a straight answer which is why I was asking you specifically in an email :) But anyway, I'll quit asking questions of you and just jump on in I guess. <Thank you for the above input. Very worthwhile... a great relief to me to find/meet up with critical thinking> Basic plans are just to quarantine for at least 4 weeks, maybe 6 weeks depending on the fish, certainly 4 weeks of no sickness before allowing them into the main tank. <Great! Do please read the "dailies" today on WWM for a sad acct. of someone with a 600 gallon system...> Freshwater dip going into quarantine with meth blue in the FW dip mix. <Please do read re, and consider adding formalin... and aeration...> Basic quarantine tank with just an airstone and some ammonia removing rocks so I don't even have to worry about maintaining a cycled aquarium there, I'll just change out the ammonia removing substance every week and be doing maybe 1g water change daily, which is about 4% of my total quarantine tank volume. All in all, no medications and no special salinity while in quarantine. I'll know that the fish are most likely carrying ich and just not suffering, rather than being proactive and treating it regardless of whether they show it or not. To be honest this doesn't sit well with me as I'd rather have them go into a completely ich free tank and stay ich free, but from what I've read that is almost an impossibility. <Not so... and worth shooting for> Anyway, thanks for all the helpful answers and what not, I'll try not to write in again. <Oh... no... please do... We enjoy sharing with folks who have earnest questions, are seeking to share> I've enjoyed Reef Invertebrates so far, I'm about 150 pages in. I do wish it was formatted a little differently though, it is a lot more "floppy" than CMA (larger pages and not as thick) and it makes it harder to read in the tub while I'm laying down. Oh well, small problem :) Grant <And thank you this input as well. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection... Hypo., dipping...  07/07/08 Well thanks for the encouraging response. My 2nd to last email to you was responded to with basically three different versions of "read WWM" to my three questions, so I figured I should probably stop asking questions ;) <I see> One last set of questions for you... sorry if this is already listed on WWM, but I just want to be really clear on what procedure should be in your opinion. I had planned on just doing a FW dip for 5 minutes or so with Meth Blue, with the intention of minimizing ich in the quarantine and therefore the display tank, even though I see only lukewarm response to a FW dip actually doing much to ich. However, you suggested the use of formalin. I actually have a bottle of it sitting around from about a year ago, it is the 37% stuff. Reading through WWM states that 2.7 ML per gallon is a good amount to use in a hour long saltwater bath before placing into quarantine. <Yes> So here is the question (wow it takes me a long time just to get to my questions!). <At least you finally do!> I'll be receiving 2 Semilarvatus B/F and a Aussie Harlequin tusk on Tuesday. Super sale on LiveAquaria.com on the tusk so I went ahead and made the plunge. If I use a hour or so length formalin saltwater bath, <! This is way too long... better to be present for sure, use aeration, and limit this to 3-5 minutes maximum> can I do away with the freshwater dip I had planned? <Mmm... am a bit lost here... I would/do add the formalin to the pH-adjusted freshwater...> Or do I need to do a short FW dip and then the saltwater bath with formalin? Really, I have researched WWM and I get the feeling that the formalin treatment makes the FW dip unnecessary, but I didn't find that anywhere exactly stated, and I really don't want to screw this up. I've never quarantined fish before, but I've mainly had reef tanks and only a fish or two, so I wasn't really concerned. Moving into a large FOWLR setup, I'm not only investing a lot of money, but some pretty cool fishy lives and I don't want to screw it up. <I understand... Perhaps another quick read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm> Also, my stocking plan includes 2 Sufflamen albicaudatus, male/female pair, one Raccoon B/F, one Purple tang and one Emperor angel, all Red Sea varieties. Are any of those fish more easy poisoned by the formalin dips? <Mmm, the Angel and BF...> I remember reading that triggers seem to be more susceptible to it, however after searching around I couldn't find the info so I'm not sure if I read that on WWM or on another helpful site. And if they are susceptible, do I just do a lesser dose or skip the formalin all together? <... again, and I understand this is hard to understand... compared w/ someone who has done it a bunch just being there to help... I would call around, see if a LFS, service co. locally has someone who can come by...> I really do appreciate the answers and help, I'm sure my fish appreciate it even more. I feel like I should join the WWM crew and give back to the community, heh. Grant <I look forward to your joining us. Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection 07/07/08 Maybe I'm starting to understand the concept, it only takes 10 emails and a weeks worth of reading to get an idea into my head correctly. <Less than I...> I guess I mistook what you suggested in your last email. We were talking about FW dips and you suggested formalin, so I read up on the formalin FAQs on WWM. It says right there that you should do a 1 hour SW formalin bath to treat ich. "For dips/baths 125-250 ppm per gallon may be used for up to an hour of immersion." <Mmm, perhaps the words "up to" should be modified...> I was assuming then that I should skip the FW dip and just do a 1 hour SW bath with formalin, then put into quarantine. I read the http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm page for like the 20th time this week and I think I see where my confusion was. You were simply suggesting adding formalin to the dip, whereas I was thinking I needed to do a long SW bath. Anyway, my mistake. <No worries> So a 5-10 minute max formalin FW dip is more beneficial than you think a 1 hour SW formalin bath would be? <Yes... and far less work> I'd almost be inclined to think the SW would be less hard on the fish than a FW dip, but I'm not experienced in this aspect :) I guess maybe the 1 hour SW bath is a treatment for an already existing case of ich, whereas the FW dip is just a preventative measure but not really a cure? <More so, yes> And as far as being present during the dip/bath, believe me, I will be. I'm more anxious about this than I would think possible. I do have 2 airstones that run off one pump (I'll be using 2 different 5 gallons buckets for the dip) and I'm going to heat the water to 78 degrees or so before the fish are introduced. I'm going to pull the heater right before putting the fish in just so that they have more room in the bucket, but for the 5 or so minutes they are in the dip, the water shouldn't even cool half a degree. <Good protocol> Believe me, I've asked the LFS a couple times now if they would have someone who could help me with trying my first quarantine, I even suggested I'd bring in the fish in the shipping boxes to them, with my own buckets and everything and do it there with their help/supervision and bring them home in some "normal" SW identical to my quarantine tanks. Basically, if I don't buy the fish from them, they don't want to help. And the fish prices here are ridiculous... so while I don't want to kill my fish or have a hard time of doing this, I'm not willing to pay the 2-3 times higher prices offered up here. Damned if I do, damned if I don't, in my opinion. <Understood...> Anyway, my whole thought behind this process is that I'm going to have my 180g being run fallow for 2 months at the least before introducing fish. Hopefully there will be no ich present in the system after that length of time. I really really REALLY want to avoid ever introducing it into the system, so treating for ich before even going into quarantine, even if the fish don't show signs of it (as we all know most times you cant see the small amount of ich present on most fish) really appeals to me. I'd love to never introduce a single ich parasite into my main system. Am I dreaming? I'm starting to feel like so, after all the reading I've done, most of the pages say that there will always be a small amount of ich present in the system. <Ahh, don't I (and you, no doubt) wish the vaccines available for limiting/preventing Cryptocaryon (and more) that are readily available and used in Europe were here... too hard thus far to get through the U.S. F.D.A.> Thanks again Bob. For some reason I'm nervous, heh... like really nervous. I just don't want to mess this up, I'm investing a lot of time and money into the venture and I want it to go good, plus I want these super cool fish to be healthy and live a long happy life. I know how happy I'd be if my parents brought me into the world and said "guess what, we've treated you and your area for the common cold, you'll NEVER be exposed to it in your entire life." I'm trying to give that to the fishes in my care, although whereas the common cold doesn't kill humans for the most part, ich sure does seem to claim a lot of fish. <Well put... Again, thank you for sharing Grant. BobF>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection... dips/baths   7/7/08 This might be something you want to reference on your web page somewhere or just store away in your mind for future use, but I was in contact with All-Glass or Aqueon or whatever they are now calling themselves, a dry 180g aquarium weights 282 lbs and a dry 210g aquarium weighs 343 pounds. This is without glass covers or a stand or overflows, just a plain Jane empty fish tank. Anyway, you've helped me so much I figured I needed to give something back, I realize that was a small thing but interesting to know and it might help some hobbyist some day. <Thank you> Anyway the fish come in tomorrow, I've already got my freshwater dip buckets (two 5g buckets) set up, one for the two Semilarvatus and one for the Harlequin tusk. I set the pH last night at 8.2 and I've got pumps in there keeping the water aerated, so everything should be good to go when the fish arrive. I haven't put the formalin in yet, I'll wait to do that until I'm ready to dip the fish. I'm still nervous but actually much less so after your last reply email. I think I finally feel like I'm going to get this right! And that is a good feeling :) <You are prepared!> Two questions for you, both have answers that are probably very obvious to an experienced aquarist/genius/superhero <Dang cape is caught on my chair...> like yourself, but I'm not sure on them and I did read the website, I don't see where this is specifically addressed. One, should I acclimate both Semilarvatus B/F together in the same bucket? <Can be done if there's room... otherwise, one at a time> I'm 99% sure they wont be shipped together, <I'm 100> so I assume I shouldn't need to acclimate together. My concern comes from reusing the same bucket. For instance, I'll put one fish into the bucket, let it sit for 5 minutes OR until it freaks out, whichever comes first. At this point, should that water be considered "contaminated" and not reusable for the next butterfly? <Nope... though there are such concerns for some (mainly freshwater) fish families> If so, I'll need to mix up a third bucket of water because my 2nd bucket is going to be used by my Harlequin. Or should I just put both B/F into the same bucket at once? <See above> It is 4 gallons of water and it will be well aerated and heated. Now since they are going into the same quarantine tank together, I'm going to assume any disease one has the other will get, my main concern is if something toxic or for lack of a better word "bad" happens to the water after the B/F has been in it for 5 minutes, bad enough that I wont want to dip a 2nd fish in the same water. <Not to worry> And second question is my quarantine tank, it is a standard 29g aquarium... Can two Semilarvatus B/F, around 3.5 to 4 inches in length get along for a month or two in the same tank? <Yes> These aren't purchased as a pair, so they will be two strangers most likely to each other, and definitely in a smaller water volume than is recommended but that is only going to be about a two month period. After two months, my newly set up 180g should be finished cycling and have gone through a good 2 month period of letting the live rock really come to life, I want to give the rock as much time as possible to become very alive, so if the B/F can handle 2 months in the same tank with each other I'd prefer to do that. <Just monitor metabolites...> The other option is I could put one B/F and the Harlequin tusk in my one 29g and then a single B/F in the other 29. Basically, I've got two 29g tanks and 3 fish, I'm wondering which combo will work best over the course of about a 2 month period. <The two BFs tog.> After that they are going into a 180g and they should be happy as clams. Thanks Bob! Grant Gray <Welcome Grant. B>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection... dips/baths  -- 07/08/08 Well the fish arrived and everything went well and according to plan, thanks to your many emails and my weeks of scouring WWM, what a great resource. <Ah, welcome> The Semilarvatus are doing great, very active and lively. The tusk isn't doing so hot though, he basically sits on the bottom on his side, still breathing but not swimming my any means and not upright, and every 30 minutes to an hour he swims around briefly and then goes back to listless sideways laying. <Should be up and about tomorrow AM> Kind of disheartening, I feel bad for him, gorgeous fish but almost lifeless for 99% of the time he has spent in the tank. I'm hoping he pulls through. I checked ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels in the tank and everything in 0. I'm going to do a 5g water change (on a 29g tank) in about half an hour here, although I don't think there is anything in the water that is bothering him. I have the ammonia absorbing white stones and charcoal also in the filtration... Frustrating. <Take all in stride> He is acting blind too, the few times he has swam around he just swims into the PVC pipes I have in there, like he cant see. <Leave the lights off on the tank> I put my face to the side of the tank and watched him, and moved my hand around in front of the tank, he didn't react at all to my hand movement, slow or fast. I didn't want to stress him so I didn't do that much but it was a quick test to see if he would react to my presence. I definitely didn't treat with copper (which I've heard can cause blindness) and he was only in the FW dip about 2 minutes as after about 1:30 he sank to the bottom and looked like he quit breathing, he definitely wasn't moving and I didn't see any gill movement so after 30 seconds of that I pulled him out. Any ideas? Sounds like maybe pH shock but I made sure the pH was good in the dip and in the main tanks. pH in the shipping water was 7.4, pH in the FW dip was 7.9 and the pH in the quarantine tank is 8.2. I hesitate to blame pH problems as the B/F were both dipped in the same bucket and did just fine in there, same pH in their shipping water too. <Best to match the first two, slowly allow to rise...> Just a side note, those Semilarvatus didn't get along at all, I had to put a acrylic divider down the middle of the tank. The slightly bigger B/F almost immediately began picking on the smaller one, probably only a 1/4 inch difference in size between them. I'm hoping by later tonight they will have gotten used to seeing each other through the acrylic and be best buds. Grant Gray <Best to keep separated here. B>

Re: Red Sea aquarium fish selection -- 07/09/08 Thanks for the quick reply, Bob, you rock. <More like roll these years... but thanks> Good, I'll just keep my chin up and hopefully the tusk does too. <Ah, yes> For what it's worth, I do have the lights off, I don't think that is what is causing the "blindness" so to speak. <Mmm, no... likely "just stress"... blindness in most fish instances is due to vitamin deficiency mostly... second most commonly due to over-bright lighting, no chances to get out of the solar blast> What I did is unscrew all the bulbs from the room lighting except one that points away from both the quarantine tanks. <Good> This is off in a second bedroom that no one uses so they have a extremely quiet, peaceful location to settle in to. I leave the single room light on which is only a 20w curly incandescent bulb, so it is by no means bright, it hardly changes the brightness of the room but it does shed a little light around, nothing directly at the aquariums though. I figured on not using an actual tank light for a week or two, no real reason to from what I can tell. <Really only to examine the fishes closely> No one is in there staring at them and I have no photosensitive creatures in there so I'm thinking the fish will be less stressed without a blazing light above their heads. I watched a lot of videos lately of the Red Sea (I know the tusk isn't from there but the butterfly and all the rest of my fish will be) and the water isn't exactly clear in them, I can see how being 10 feet down or more and you wouldn't be getting full sunlight by any means, so the fish should actually appreciate this much more natural lighting than a tank light would provide. <You show wisdom> And I figured in the unpacking process the fish would be much happier to not go from 24 hours in a dark box to bright light, so hence the dimly lit room idea. Well, at least in my mind it's a good idea, heh :) One thing I forgot to mention is one of the tusks eyes is very clear and good looking. The eye is orange like it should be, but the part that is clear and see through (the lens?) <Yes> looks great, nothing at all wrong with it. The other one kind of has a greenish tint to the lens, on the very outside part of it. It isn't popping out or anything, but I wonder if maybe he is just suffering a little eye problems from being stuck in a bag or bumped up against a bag or who knows what else during the shipping process. Grant <Happens... best to just relax, be patient... B>  

A Heartfelt "Thanks!" & SW Fish Acclimation/Dips   7/5/08 Dear Bob, >Joe< I have been a reader of WWM for several years and would like to thank you and the crew members for the huge amounts of effort, experience, wisdom, as well as common sense that has went into the site. I have NEVER had to write because every question I've thought of has been within these pages. In addition, I would like to give a huge 'Thank you' to both you and Anthony for the books, 'CMA' as well at 'Reef Invertebrates'. I would like to encourage all readers to purchase both because there is additional information not posted on WWM in these pages that is extremely valuable! These are the most detailed books that I've read regarding the hobby and I appreciate every word! I'm already on my 2nd copy of CMA! <Heeee!> My first ever question is actually more of a clarification. In the past I have not quarantined or dipped specimens and have been very lucky regarding disease. This is all going to change. After reading every acclimation article on WWM, every FAQ, and every chapter (repeatedly) in CMA, I'm still a bit confused as to proper acclimation/dip procedures. I know this is a relatively simple procedure and I think that the root of the confusion that other readers have had is from not actually seeing/experiencing the proper procedure first hand. There is a big difference between reading and actually witnessing someone properly acclimate/dip a specimen. <I totally agree with you> I have done my best at compiling the information and have created a general step by step acclimation procedure with dip. I would GREATLY appreciate a critique. I believe that this step by step layout will help other aquarists like me that have difficulty understanding the complete and proper process. <Ok> This is a general procedure for most common marine fish that appear to be in general good health, 1) Upon bringing the specimen home, float bag in quarantine tank to equalize temperature for about 10 minutes. 2) Add an air stone to the bag and begin drip acclimating to quarantine tank for 40-50 minutes. 3) While drip acclimating, prepare dip water in separate container. Use pre- aerated RO water that is temperature adjusted and buffered with sodium bicarbonate to about 8.2 <Will only raise to about 7.8> (same parameters as quarantine) with or without Methylene blue added according to bottle instructions. (Or should this dip water be made 24 hrs in advance?) <New is fine> 4) When drip acclimation is completed, scoop specimen with net and dip in prepped water for 5-10 minutes depending on size and reaction to dip. 5) Net and place directly in quarantine tank 6) Observe in quarantine for at least 4 weeks and administer treatment if symptoms arise. 7) Upon quarantine release, drip acclimate to display tank (turn lights off or dim) and release specimen. *Never mix bag water with quarantine or display <Sounds good> Obviously there are other ways to go about this. But in general, how does this look in your valued opinion? >Fine< Again Bob, words cannot express how your and all of the WWM crew's work has helped me and countless other aquarists. THANK YOU! Joe W. Wichita, KS <Glad to help you. Bob Fenner>

UPDATE: Freshwater dip - items ejecting from gills? Internal damage done? Holding ones breath for nine minutes... RO water sans O2 4/9/08 Crew - <Joel> I know you've not had a chance to even read my first post, <Mmm, perhaps someone else has responded to this now...> but I'm confused and upset. Sadly, the Paracanthurus did not survive. I feel horrible. In analyzing my every step, I cannot figure out where I failed. The only thing I can think of is that I must've handled the freshwater dip incorrectly. At this point I expect the crew to tell me that the apparent paralysis for the first 5 minutes upon entering the water was a bad sign. When it happened, I recalled Bob's comments on WWM that it's harder on the owner than the fish. <... yes, often the case> I've considered that I raised the PH of the water too high, but my Red Sea tests showed Alkalinity and PH were fine. <What were these values?> The only questionable thing I can find in the analysis of my actions is this: the PH stayed yellow (not on color scale), even after adding Red Sea's buffering agent drops to the gallon <Mmm, would just use baking soda... sodium bicarbonate> or so of RO freshwater. <Stop! You did aerate this I hope/trust... RO water has no dissolved gas... no oxygen...> So I added a few more drops. Barely light purple (just at 8.0). A couple more drops and the color went back to yellow. I decided my buffering agent might be bad and did some reading on your site. I found a crew comment that the PH might not be buffering and it might "bounce back" if I try again. So, I added a few more drops. Still yellow. Finally, I added baking soda and the PH immediately registered between 8.2 and 8.4. <Ah, good> Could I have completely overdone the buffer regardless of the reading? What else could explain the (now apparent) gill damage that I must've done after 9 minutes? <... the RO/dip-bath water must need be aerated... even during such procedures... to provide oxygen> I'm afraid of trying this again and killing another beautiful specimen out of my own stupidity. Please give me some hope that I shouldn't give up. Regards, Joel Pippin <You are not the first case of such troubles... Am wondering if I should re-emphasize the aeration, actually all steps of said protocol/s... with the use of sidebars, lists... Aeration I believe here was the real source of trouble. Bob Fenner>

Re: UPDATE: Freshwater dip - items ejecting from gills? Internal damage done? Note: add emphasis on articles re aerating dip water 4/9/08 Thanks for the reply. I'll look up how to provide continual aeration, but I suppose an airstone in the water before and during the entire procedure would do the trick? <Yes... the RO water is very close to being absolutely "flat"... sans gas, w/o aeration> I've never done any aeration; I buy my fresh and saltwater from the LFS, allowing the saltwater to age... but assuming the vigorous mixing in of the salt at the store is enough aeration. I never knew RO was devoid of gases until now, despite all my reading. Yes, please emphasize this step as you do PH adjustment for us who are <1 year in the hobby. <Will do> Is an airstone the best option here or some other small pump? <A mechanical aerator (pump, tubing, "stone") is best here> Regards, Joel <And you, BobF> Freshwater dip - items ejecting from gills? Internal damage done? Hello Crew! <Joel... is this your prev. email? A bit confusing... as it is coming in some time after the latter...> I've just received a beautiful Indian Yellow Bellied Blue Hippo Tang from LiveAquaria's Diver's Den, and after a drip acclimation of about an hour, I gave her a PH/temp adjusted freshwater dip per the reading I've done here, monitoring closely. I've tried to find information about various fish reactions on the site, but could not find any so I'll ask. The instant she hit the freshwater, she arched to one side and froze in this posture until minute 5. I've seen this before, so I wasn't too shocked. However, at minute 9 of my intended 10, puffs of what I can only describe as "smoke" appeared to come out of her gills. <!?> A took this as one of those "signs of stress" I should be monitoring for, and promptly removed her to the tank where she will be housed. I know opinions vary, but I'm working from Bob's comments in regards to this species and the stress of QT. Okay, so now she's in the tank behind a rock breathing heavily. She shooed away the Skunk Cleaner when he came by, but I noticed one or two more of these "puffs" from her gills, and one had a ting of reddish hue to it. I wasn't overly concerned until the Nassarius snails took an interest and had to be moved away. As you know, being masters of "death notification" in a tank (say, if a Cerith dies), I'm in a bit of a panic. Of course I'll keep to actinics only for awhile and give her a chance to adjust, but should I be worried about internal damage from the dip at this point? She's been panting for an hour. Best Regards, Joel Pippin <I've amended the dip/bath article per our earlier email... to include hopefully adequate emphasis on aeration of the water... BobF>

Another $20 donation in thanks - RE: Freshwater dip - items ejecting from gills? Internal damage done? -- 4/12/08 Bob - <Joel> First, thanks again for being available to help. I've just donated another $20 through Amazon (Joseph Pippin/joriki). I do wish you'd offer a phone hotline for a fee, but I understand that you may not wish to do this or that your business is not set up to offer such a service. <Heee! No time... or at least I'd have to put "my foot on the brake, accelerator and clutch simultaneously"... trying to "multi-task" (can barely breathe while keying) on the Net and telly...> I would've been happy to pay to call you and make sure I had everything set correctly for the dip after the first loss. There are just so many books/articles to read about so many esoteric items in this hobby it is hard to learn enough. <Yes... info. and mis/dis-information overload for sure> I'm used to managing and maintaining corporate data networks - and the fact that those system are not alive makes a big difference. There are so many variables in this hobby. I enjoy the challenge, but it certainly is frustrating at times; there is so much bad, outdated, debated, or opposing information to parse through. No wonder so many leave the hobby in the first year or so. <Ah yes... more than 100% turnover annually according to some figures> Before I continue... you can thank Time Warner Cable for such a delay unless your mail server had a hiccup and the mail was queued for redelivery. Regardless, yes, this was the first email you should have received. <Ahh> Anyway, I located a replacement "rare" yellow-bellied tang on LiveAquaria's diver's den the night after the loss of the first. After communicating with you I took a deep breath and reevaluated whether the first death now made me risk averse to another attempt. I finally ordered the fish, bought airstones and a pump at a local pet megamart chain, and started aerating 2 gallons of RO freshwater with enough baking soda to bring the PH to 8.4. I started this the day prior to arrival. The airstone ran non-stop and I checked the PH right up to dip time. <Good> The LFS where I finally found Methylene blue told me that freshwater dips kill tangs, <Mmmm... let's back-track a bit here... or at least allow me, please, to make a broad/general statement re life, our processes with. As you alluded to there is a certain to huge fascination with the living world, in part due to its quantum effects... i.e. lack of cohesive, predictable behavior... The same applies here... SOME fish groups are far more ON AVERAGE benefited from dip/bath procedures than others... with concomitant dissimilar issues of survivability/mortality (risk/benefit in your parlance perhaps)... HOWEVER, this universe has more to it than simple causal-effect notions... There is at least the considerations of "Null-hypotheses" (the cost of doing nothing) and "Business Opportunity Costs" (can be put in other ways...), what you might otherwise do. AFTER a few decades actually working with hundreds of thousands of specimens, reading, developing procedures for processing, handling aquatic livestock... I will assure you that the vast majority of Tangs/Acanthurids/Acanthuroids/Percoids... are better off being dipped/bathed as per the protocol presented on WWM, in articles and books by me (and others) are VERY worthwhile... Yes, some tangs et al. do die outright, some later from the stress from... However (see those other ways of consideration above), the larger percentage are greatly aided in being rid of common external parasite fauna, and further, their tankmates are also conferred by their exclusion...> and when I mentioned your advice, they asked if you were going to pay for the dead fish. <Please refer these folks... I would take the time to chat with them> Ouch. I remained faithful to your guidelines, and the airstone worked well... no obvious signs of stress, and the fish swam for half of the 8 minute dip, mostly laying flat only when I got close. I opted to go straight to the main tank per your advice, and while she hides behind a rock when we enter the room, I've seen her out an about quite often when I poke my head in quietly. Still not eating, but I have garlic-dipped sea veggies on a clip nearby if she's interested. I hope she eats soon. Not sure how long before I should worry that she suffered PH shock - more on that in a moment... I must admit I do not understand the science behind aerating water, but I'm now a believer. How can H20 - with one part oxygen - lack soluble oxygen? <... isn't "free" (in earlier years I taught H.S. chemistry and physics, as well as biology)... O2, diatomic oxygen, is about 210,000 ppm in the sea about us... at most about 7 ppm in seawater... goes away quick with life present...> Does a fish not extract the oxygen from the water molecules? <No... this "magic molecule", the universal solvent, the standard for specific heat... and so much more is very strange/peculiar in many properties... one is in just how "stable" it is... only disassociating (and re-associating for that manner) into hydrogen and hydroxyl ions (H+, OH-) on a small basis... RARELY as oxygen to any extent, time...> Is there a resource to which you can direct me if the answer is too complex to explain simply? <Mmm, most any high school and up chemistry tome... Likely on the Net as well... Do stay tuned to this same "Bat Channel", (WWM's Dailies), as folks may well write in to address you and myself here> I have one lingering concern after reading your drip acclimation guide for lengthy shipments (and commercial deliveries)... yours was the first article where I read that drip acclimation isn't good. I assumed the drip reduces the ammonia as the PH goes up, <Too little of the former while too much of the latter...> especially without an airstone that might raise the ammonia levels, <?... how?> but this is not so according to your acclimation article. While reading during the 3hr drip, I found your article on the subject but I wasn't prepared to suddenly make my aerating water PH-adjusted to the shipment water, <Mmm, do read again... as you noted, this particular piece is for commercial concerns... Not really such a matter for shorter termed shipped, well-packed "end-user"/aquarist situations> so I used a few drops of AmQuel in the shipment water about 2hrs in to chemically neutralize the ammonia. <A good product, useful practice> I was checking temp/PH/NH3 often during the process and ammonia was going down slowly while PH was going up slowly, and ammonia dropped to 0 once I added AmQuel. I hope I didn't wait too long. Regardless, is AmQuel a bad shortcut for the (non-commercial) buyer with few overnight shipments? <I have used... hundreds of gallons of this fine Kordon/Novalek... Bob Rofen to/through Johnny Farrell Kuhns chemical patents product in such procedures... as stated, it IS useful> Regards, Joel Pippin <Thank you, Bob Fenner, waking up>

Freshwater Dips and Ich, Proper methodology 10/31/07 Hello, <Hi> First, thank you for all the information and time that you all put into your website. I don't know what I'd do without it! I do all my research on WWM and now friends and family come to me for aquatic advice :-) <Maybe you will join us here some day.> I do have a question that I couldn't find a specific answer to: I bought a Desjardini tang that had some ich on it so I freshwater dipped it with meth blue (about 4 minutes) and quarantined it. Within a few days it was active and eating with full colors. About 5 days later the ich returned along with loss of color so I administered another FW dip with meth blue (about 4 min) and within a day it was back to full colors, active, and eating. Then, about a week later (which was yesterday), the ich was back in full force again, loss of color, rapid respiration, the works. I realized that this is my fault, as the water quality had degraded because I hadn't done a water change that whole week (don't worry, I've already reprimanded myself). <Well the water quality may have encouraged the infestation, but the pathogen was already present.> So I did a large water change (always using water from my 100g system ensuring proper temp/salinity/pH/etc) along with a FW dip with meth blue (about 5min). <I assume the tang was never in the main tank and it is ich free, otherwise you may be transferring more ich into the tank with every water change.> Today, the tang is very active, breathing normally, and has a voracious appetite. The problem is that the ich looks worse than it did before. Usually, after dips, the ich disappears and the fish's colors return but this time the colors haven't fully returned (only partially) and more importantly the ich looks as though it has spread. <FW dips are not really a cure for Ich. While it may provide temporary relief t does not effect ich already detached from the fish or ich that has already dug itself in deep to the fish's body.> I've read all about crypto life cycle and the chemicals but have always been wary of using copper or formalin (and have never needed to as the dips with meth blue, water stability, and nutritious feeding usually do the trick). <Can help control the parasite, but will not eliminate it, however I too am weary of chemicals, they are not very specific in what they effect.> So my main question is that I was curious as to how often one could administer FW dips (once a day/week/etc), aware that it probably has a lot to do with how stressed the fish is already. <Daily if the fish seems strong, but as you say it depends on the fish.> So I assume I will have to treat the QT tank to prevent future outbreaks as well and am considering hyposalinity or possibly copper (which I've read all about on WWM, of course). Any recommendations are much, much appreciated as I do not want to lose this beautiful fish. <Neither is great especially with a tang which tend to be sensitive to copper, and making a mistake with hypo is a real problem where it either kills the fish if it gets too low or is ineffective if it gets too high. A nice article by Steven Pro can be found here outlining your options http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-08/sp/index.php .> I apologize if the answer to this question has already been posted but I did look around and could not find one (regarding how often one can FW dip, that is). Thanks again! -Grant- <FW dips will help but not to be considered a cure. I would go with copper here, but the levels need to maintained closely, or if you have a second QT tank move the fish daily between the two, sterilizing and drying out completely the unused tank. This can be very effective but stressful on the fish with all the netting and moving about.> <Chris>

Fresh Water dip 10/30/07 Hello Crew! <And to you> Good evening to you all. Have a question on FW dip. My LFS is willing to do a FW dip after I buy the fish. Is it ok to do the dip at the store with the parameters matching the LFS water and then bring it back and add it to my tank with slow acclimation. <Certainly> The reason I want to do it this way, instead of matching the dip to my water is that I find it hard to make a FW solution with PH that matches mine, without a PH meter. Thanks Gans <No worries> P.S. Bob, Sam at Aqtc Warehouse was looking for you. <Please pass my number along, have him call me: XXXX . BobF>

Quarantining and dipping  7/22/07 Hello Sorry to bother you <No bother :-)> with something there's a lot of information on but I'm new to the hobby and all the information is confusing me. I am a very simple person. Please bear with me and read through this and help a simple person out. I would like to use the best method of quarantining and FW dipping. So from what I've read the quarantining comes first. And this lasts for 14 to 21 days? For quarantining new arrivals I don't medicate just isolate and observe. <correct> To do that I float the bag in the main tank for 15 min.s to get the temp the same, then I net scoop the fish out and straight into quarantine (no dip first?). <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dipratuse.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/quaranti.htm> In the quarantine tank is half saltwater from the main tank and half fresh, filtered only with a sponge from the main and some stress zyme to help the biological filter and ornaments to give it some covering and an air stone to give it a decent amount of oxygen. And light should be dull. For the next 3-2 weeks I should do daily water changes of what percent? <If the water changes are daily and the bioload moderate, I'd say 5 to 10%. But this depends a lot on the bioload of the quarantine tank. Bigger or smaller water changes might be needed. Monitor your ammonia and no2 daily so that you know you're doing enough.> Then after the weeks have passed I do a fresh water dip preferably with 5% methylene blue for 3-5 min.s or 15 min.s with an air stone in the bucket that has been going for 2hours first. Which one is best? If they're even right. And is using baking soda with the methylene blue right? And how much baking soda for 1 gallon? Then it's another scoop and into the main tank with the light off to prevent extra stress. <You use the baking soda to adjust the alkalinity (reduces stress). For more info on methane blue dips: http://wetwebmedia.com/methblueart.htm> Sorry for the long, attempted step by step. <Sorry I can't give you more specific step-by-step instructions. The truth is that a lot of it is going to be your personal choice/preference and the details of your setup. For instance, I don't know how big your quarantine tank is.> One last thing. I recently had my quarantine tank set up as a hospital tank recently. Today I bleached everything, rinsed a few times <With dechlorinator I hope!> and left in the sun to dry. Then I set it all back up to use as a quarantine tank tomorrow and have it running with the water and filter from my main tank. When I tested the nitrite level it was at .2, which I don't quite understand since there should be no waste, so no ammonia and therefore no nitrite. <Did you use tap water?> What am I missing here? <If you didn't use distilled or RO/DI water then it's quite possible that the nitrites were in the water from the get-go.> I didn't think it needs to cycle when it has the stuff from the main tank in it. This will be my first quarantine and I really don't want another dead fish (died because I didn't quarantine when I got it), now I know better and want to do it right. <You won't regret it. Just review some of the WWM info pages on quarantine tanks again. Sometimes it takes going over things a few times before it starts to all come together (at least for me anyway).> Thank you so much for your time and help. I really appreciate it. Katie Paulsen <De nada, Sara M.>

Re: Regal tang acting weird... dipping protocols Hello, <Hi again> Again thanks for the advice, and since you thought my questions were good I thought I would ask a couple more about the freshwater dip for the Blue Regal/Hippo tang coming out of copper QT... hope that's ok!!! <Sure> I have read the article on WWM and the FAQs so I more or less just wanted to confirm I have digested and fully understood the procedure before I go ahead. I would hate to think I might cause her more harm than good in doing something wrong and would appreciate some reassurance I have things right, and if I don't, someone to set me straight: <Will try> Since she is not visibly suffering from Ick now after the treatment, would it make sense not to include medication in the bath such as Methylene Blue? Or would it be advisable to include this in the bath for good measure? <Mmm, well, amongst the stockpile of chemicals that can/could be added to such dips/baths, Methylene Blue is exceedingly non-toxic, non-stressful> If I should use Methylene Blue should I add this to the bath before checking PH parameters or will this not affect the PH? <Will not practically effect pH... though with aeration, can help to sustain high, steady pH> If there's no need to use it am I literally just preparing temp and PH adjusted fresh water to put her in? <Yes> The procedure: Using tap water treated with a water conditioner/de-chlorinator in a bucket, match the temperature and PH (using baking soda to increase) to the water in the QT tank that she's currently in. Use a net to lift her out of the QT tank and then do I release her into the bucket of premixed bath or do I keep her in the actual net for the duration of the 5-10 min.s, monitoring her reaction and pulling her out if she thrashes about or tries to jump out? <Better to release large, active fishes in baths... re-net to remove> Then do I net her out (or simply lift her out if she remains in net) drain, and then transfer her straight to the main system? <Yes> In terms of removing copper and sterilizing QT tank (that has been exposed to Ick), do I do water changes and run Carbon or CupriSorb in filter until copper test kit reads zero, then empty, soak tank and PVC for 1-2 hours in non-scented household bleach, then rinse thoroughly twice with 4 x dose of de chlorinated tap water and allow to air dry? Should I run the bleach solution through the hang on filter and rinse the same as for the tank, then return filter media to main system to prepare it for possible future hospital/QT purposes? <I would add the bleach (will complex any copper as cupric chloride), let circulate for half an hour or so, dump, rinse... re-fill> I won't do anything until I'm sure I have this right. She was a lot calmer last night than she has been so I'm not panicked about taking her out of the QT tank as soon as possible. Many thanks for your advice and patience with me! Hillary. <A pleasure to share, help. Bob Fenner>

Definitive dip/bath for varieties of fish 10/10/05 Salutations, <And you> I am in the process of stocking my 60 liter tank (in actuality, it's closer to 47 liters or 13 gallons) and was wondering what fish do better with dips as opposed to baths. Every fish will spend a luxurious 3-4 weeks in QT before arriving to their final destination, but which fish would get a dip and which would take a bath? Is there a list on the web (or maybe here that I carelessly skipped) that says which fish gets what and for how long? <Mmm, not as far as I'm aware> For example, would you give a bi-color Dottyback a freshwater bath with Methylene blue? What would be the minimum time? <A few minutes> (sources say anything less than 3 minutes is worthless). I understand if they are thrashing about, get them out...but what if they lay down? Thanks again for the wonderful resource! Dana <Smaller fishes, less time, scale-less fishes, less time, fishes that live in close association with invertebrates, less time. There are some notes under the heading "acclimation" by group, per articles by me on WWM, but the real "bottom line" here is watching your livestock while they are dipped/bathed, and hoisting them out if/when they appear overly distressed. Bob Fenner> 

New fish manager, questions re: freshwater dip    4/4/06 Hello. I wanted to thank you guys on a great job, as I visit your site at least once or twice a day. <More than me!> I've recently come to manage the fish department in a full-line pet store, and had some questions. The last guy didn't think much of skimmers and most other forms of filtration, and I can't exactly go crazy with upgrading everything just yet, <Take your time... plan... purchase, install incrementally...> but so far I have managed to hook up a skimmer to our largest of 3 saltwater systems. <Shocking eh?> I've also taken to dripping the fish over the course of about 3-4 hours (in contrast to the previous float and drop technique used by the last manager). I have also begun using a freshwater methylene blue dip. Works absolute wonders (and thanks to you guys here at WWM for that one too!) <Is of tremendous use> This is my first question. I get in marine fish on average 3 times a week. And it really does become a hassle to make up dip water that often. How effective would it be to set up, say, a twenty gallon long aquarium with a small pump, heater, and a good mechanical aerator, and using net breeders to dip several fish at once, leaving this tank setup for extended periods of time? <Best to re-make each shipment... Though a stock solution of dip itself can be made, stored> I can't really seem to find anything on permanent dip tanks. Perhaps because it's generally not a good idea for some reason? <Loss of concentration, possibility of pest, pathogen transfer> I now travel to our wholesaler to hand pick our fish, both fresh and marine, which vastly helps in attaining the best, healthy fish. But, as always, either I miss something on one of them, or one or two develop something after a couple days after transit. So, I've also set up one quarantine tank, with another to follow shortly. <Wowzah! A big step...> But for some reason, the nitrites WILL NOT go down, no matter what I do. Right now, I'm running Paraguard, but am thinking of switching to methylene blue. Is the medication stalling the biological filtration in the filter, <Correct> or am I perhaps not being patient enough. Nitrites have been off the scale for about a week now, and the tank has been set up around a month. Any suggestions other than patience? <Frequent water changes, use of established, clean bio-media...> I'd like to have this tank running as soon as possible. Thanks again, and hopefully I won't have too many other questions!. <Bring them on. No worries... been there, done that. Bob Fenner> I thought a Quarantine was a place to dig up rocks! Dip procedures as well    5/3/07 Dear WWM Crew: <Darrel> Somewhere in this mess are a few questions -- I hope it's easier to read than it was to write. <Okay> Ahem.  Once I manage to get a fish to my display tank, it lives in a 0/0/0 (Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate) world with 10% water changed every week, lots of varied food to eat and few worries (not sure what a fish WOULD worry about, but there are no sharks, eels, groupers to eat them and no taxes to pay).  There is one little Hawkfish that nipped my clownfish but he will be dealt with -- maybe a stern talking to or possibly a notation on his permanent record that will follow him for the rest of his life. But getting TO my main tank is a tougher road than I'd have expected. At the beginning, the wise, knowledgeable, caring experts at BOTH my LFS advised a 4 day 'waiting period' before placing their fish in my main tank. <At least this is some interval...> Since they know best and have years of experience, I followed their recommendations to the letter.    As you all would expect, after most of  the fish in the main tank died of Ick, a REAL quarantine program was instituted starting with a bare 10 gallon tank/hood/heater and HOB Whisper filter. <Mas mejor... Much better> Never wanting to see or hear about Ick ever again, this tank was treated with Copper Power (chelated copper) as per manufacturer's instructions.  But good luck getting a Nitrogen Cycle started in a copper treated tank. <Or sustain such...>   Maybe some people can but I never could. <Me neither>   This meant 3-4 10% water changes every week, which means re-dosing the copper -- <Yes> and with the test kits available to the hobby trade it's like playing Russian Roulette with an automatic pistol.   I've tried all the major brands and their test kits and in my actual surveys 8 out of 10 people can't read the difference between the three shades on their respective color charts that differentiate between  TOO LOW--JUST RIGHT--LETHAL. <Agreed... but there are better, useful kits...> I lost enough fish to copper toxicity that I've decided to swear off Copper until I can obtain research grade tools. (working on that one already!) <See Hach, LaMotte... they have reasonable-cost assays...> MEANWHILE .... I'm committed to an eight minute Freshwater dip upon initial acquisition -- with my only reservation being that all the emphasis on SLOW ACCLIMATION is tossed out the window with this method, isn't it? <Mmm, no> Also, no buts about it '¦ 30 DAYS from the last sign of ANYTHING before they see my main tank.   The thirty days of boredom rule will also be absolute. <Javul!> Which leaves me with two choices: 1) A 'normal' water setup for that 30 days with nothing but observation (other than the dip) 2) Hyposalinity for 30 days in a proactive effort to stave off parasites. If I'm thinking correctly (and no that doesn't happen as often as I'd like) -- unlike with copper or any medications,  either of these options would allow a filter with activated carbon, Bio-Chem-Zorb or Chemipure or Purigen or anything I need to keep the water pristine, wouldn't they? <Could> A) Would you recommend a hyposalinity quarantine for us newbies or just regular saltwater? <For most species of fishes, all invertebrates, algae... regular> B) Is there a pretty accurate list of fishes that can't tolerate 1.010 ? <Have never encountered such> C) While we're at it, a list of fishes that can't tolerate a FW dip or maybe a duration/time table for various fishes? Regards as always, Darrel <Mmm, much more than this to it... A need to as smartly apply your observation, judgment re the apparent state of health of said incoming fishes... and to bear close watch on their progress during the (aerated) dip/bath procedure... to remove to the system with full spg if/when too much stress is obvious... if so. Bob Fenner> Freshwater Dips Hello, I have been told that eels and dragonets do not tolerate freshwater dips. Is this true? Also are there any other types of fish that will not tolerate freshwater dips? Thanks, Richard <Richard, I recommend shorter freshwater dips for any species that lives in close association with invertebrates. This would include clownfish, mandarin and eels. However, I do not recommend eliminating them altogether. Avoid copper compounds, dye and organophosphate-containing remedies as these are deadly to eels. Mandarins generally do not handle these chemicals well either. Of further note, both of these species do require frequent water changes and are generally not good tank mates. Mandarins should generally be kept only with very peaceful tank mates for a variety of reasons. -Dave Schmottlach>

FW dip Hi there guys! Hope you all are well!  <and you as well good buddy> Today was the day I returned the fish to the main tank from quarantine. They were there for crypt. and the yellow tang had some black spots as well. Before re-introducing to the main tank, I Fw dipped the yellow tang. He is not doing well at this point, and I am very worried that he isn't going to make it. Let me tell you what transpired this morning & see if you can shed some light here. I acclimated them from the qt tank to the "home" tank by adding "home tank" water every 15 minutes for an hour.  <an hour is a long time for acclimation... was this vessel heated and aerated? If not there was certainly a drop in temperature... and to a lesser extent dissolved oxygen> Then I adjusted temp & pH in fresh water to match that of the water I had just acclimated them in.  <remember to aerate here too :) Especially if hot water from the tap is used... very low dissolved oxygen in the water from your hot water tank> Here comes the fiasco part... Netting a yellow tang is a terrible thing to do, & although I'm not sure what other methods I can do to get this guy out (if he makes it), I hope I can find something other than netting to do it. All those great spiky things he has get horribly caught up in the net.  <ahhh...yes. No green nets here for spined species. White nylon nets for this (all really). We all learn this one the hard way alas> OK so anyway, back to the FW dip... I scoop him out of the acclimation area and put him over into the Fw area. He is, of course, caught in the net. So I spend most of the time trying to get him untangled from this net, while he's in the Fw. We get that done, & he just seems more stressed than he ought to, so I take him out. Now, although I can't be certain because I was more intent on getting him free from the net than I was on watching the clock, I am CERTAIN that he was in that dip no longer than 5 minutes, and probably only 3. (I understand that 3 minutes isn't really long enough & I'm sorry.)  <no problem... three minutes is a minimum but helpful> So now that he's back in the main tank, he's sort of dog paddling & gilling very rapidly. The cleaner shrimp I've added while the other fish were in QT are THRILLED to see a fish. They're very gung-ho about cleaning and run over to him anytime he gets near the bottom so he keeps trying to stay up, but he's having a really hard time with it. Based on what I've read about FW dips, they should NOT be this traumatic on the fish.  <correct> Aside from not leaving him in long enough, which is not going to help the black spot I know, what else have I done wrong?  <my guess is that the rough netting/entrapment caused most of the duress> Is there a possibility that he'll make it?  <yes... they are quite hardy... but keep the lights off and remove the shrimp if necessary.. they may be causing far more stress at this point> I am just sick to think that I saved him from ich only to kill him upon returning him to his home. Please advise. Thanks! TJ <wishing you the best of luck. Anthony>

Re: Fw dip Anthony, Thank you sooo much for your encouragement! You guys are all so great! I cannot thank you enough for all your help!!!  <it is our great pleasure, my friend> Will be tossing that green net monster TONIGHT! & running to the store in the morning to get white nylon! <yes... you'll find that most aquarists after a some time in the hobby will only use nylon nets. The green nets are "faster" in the water... but much more harsh. Its rather easy to untangle spines from nylon instead> Thank you for that info. I do have an update on the tang. He seems much improved tonight with breathing back to normal (almost) & he ate a bit of food a little while ago.  <very good to hear!> Lights have remained off all day but will come on as normal on the timer tomorrow a.m.  <a good plan> The shrimp seem to have settled down a little bit (actually they seem rather heartbroken that he won't let them clean him). Hopefully he'll come around in a day or two when he starts to feel better. <fair enough> Will keep that in mind about acclimation. There was about a 2 degree temp drop.  <not bad at all... but no more than 2F recommended. 4F plus incites "ich"> I really screwed stuff up right & left today. One question & I'll leave you. The tang has a split (torn) back fin thanks to my great netting technique. Is it OK to put Stress Coat in the tank with the shrimp in there?  <sure... but doubtful it will help much. Vitamins in the food will heal faster> I'm sure his fins will heal rapidly on their own, but if this would help & be OK with the inverts then I figured I'd toss it in. <no harm if it pleases you. Will help the skimmer work better too... watch carefully for overflow> Thank you so much again for all your help/kind words!!! TJ <with kind regards, Anthony>

Going For A Dip... I don't mean to sound dense but isn't there going to be a temp, pH and salinity shock somewhere?  Either between the parameters of the LFS store water and the FW dip, or the FW dip and the QT?  There is  going to be a difference between the two right? Or am I over thinking this whole matter?  So is it best to dilute the LFS water with the QT water to get the fish acclimated first before dipping? <Your questions are certainly not "dense"! Here's the run-down: Yes, there will be a certain degree of osmotic shock as a result of freshwater dipping the fish. The temperature and pH of the freshwater should be similar to the saltwater. However, the rationale behind freshwater dipping is that parasites and other undesirable organisms cannot make the osmotic "stretch", as fishes can. The fish is netted out of the bag, then placed in the dipping bucket. After the dip, the fish is simply released into the qt. Stressful...yes, to a certain extent. But I can honestly say that I have been using this dip technique for years (as have thousands of other hobbyists), and I have never lost a fish during (or after) this process. Just be careful, and your fishes should do okay> Also is a 20 gallon tank acceptable for a 5-6" angelfish? <For quarantine, may be a bit cramped, but could work with adequate filtration. A 40 would be better...(but of course, more expensive!). This size tank is, of course, completely unacceptable for long-term housing of this sized fish, as I'm sure you've surmised> Greatly appreciate your first response, and thanks for having a place to ask questions. Steve <That's why we are here, Steve! We all learn together! Feel free to contact us any time! Regards, Scott F>

Taking A Dip Without Going Overboard (FW Dip Duration) Hey Crew, sorry to bug you again, but I have a question regarding FW dips. I was reading some threads on Reef Central and came across one with a kid whose Percula Clown had some type of parasite.  One of the responders to the thread said multiple times to do a FW bath for 15 minutes to an hour with Formalin.  That seems awfully long to me. <I've never heard anyone dip a marine fish for an hour! WOW! Yep- that will definitely finish off the parasites, not to mention the fish!> I was under the impression that baths were saltwater with the meds in it. <Well there are times when you simply will keep the fish immersed in saltwater with the selected medication. However, for the majority of times, such as acclimation of new fishes prior to quarantine, a 5-10 minute freshwater dip is appropriate. Optionally, you can add Methylene blue to the freshwater..> Can marine fishes live that long in FW? <I could not imagine anything good coming from a one hour full-strength freshwater dip for a marine fish!> Am I missing something?  If I'm totally wrong, please let me know. <Nope, you are more-or-less on track... Check out this link: http://wetwebmedia.com/dips_baths.htm Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

QUARANTINE Love your book, the articles you have written and especially the Q&A feature at FFExpress and thanks for your earlier answer re your preferred approach to quarantine fish. Could you please clarify some specifics? The new fish arrives and you float the bag in the fresh water/ methyl blue dip solution to equalize temperatures. Should the dip solution be at the approximately 82 degrees temperature that you will maintain for the quarantine period (assuming a low SG, high temp approach to fish quarantine), or should the dip solution be at a "near bag temperature" (most likely to be in the mid 70s)? Once the dip process is complete do you put the fish directly into the high temp, low salinity environment or into a normal environment and then gradually work your way to a high temp / low salinity environment with small adjustments? Maybe I'm sweating the details too much, but since you've convinced me of the merits of quarantining fish, I'd like to be sure I'm maximizing the potential for fish survival. >> The dip solution should be near the ambient/bag temperature, then to the quarantine conditions (intermediate... to the main system)... somewhere "in-between"... Bob Fenner... who agrees with your apparent philosophy

Dip/Quarantine I'm a bit confused regarding how to go about dipping and quarantining fish. I would like to dip my fish in freshwater for about 2-10 minutes and then move them to a quarantine tank for about two weeks. At times you have recommended Methylene blue (sorry I don't know the spelling). If I use the Methylene blue do I net the fish out and put it directly into the quarantine tank or do I give it another dip in saltwater comparable to my primary and quarantine tank?  <No extra dip necessary... nor the Methylene blue if the livestock is not overly stressed> Do I do the same for inverts such as cleaner shrimp, snails, LR, hermit crabs? <Wouldn't necessarily dip these as a "end user" (different situation for intermediaries in the chain of supply... and for other species/groups of invertebrates)... acclimate them and place these species directly... pieces on acclimation procedures posted at www.wetwebmedia.com> Thanks for your help.  >> <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Dip/Quarantine question Bob, Thanks for your help. I do seem to be having prob.s with dipping fish (corals always go just fine) and I think I'm doing something wrong. Basically, I use methyl-blue fresh dip, and try to minimize shock to the fish as much as possible (ph is ~8.2, temp matches bag water temp, dim lights, etc), but I've never been able to dip a fish for more than 2 min.s (actually, I usually end the dip in slightly less than 60 seconds) because they all exhibit the same behavior - sink to the bottom and have difficultly maintaining their balance they seem to lean to one side or fall over. Do you have any ideas of what would cause this? Thanks! <Actually, there might be a lack of aeration to blame here (best to add an airstone...), but the behavior you mention is to be expected, and tolerated... Yes, stressful to the fishes, but less than dying from infectious, parasitic diseases... Bob Fenner>

Lemonpeel Angel and dipping Hello Guys, <Salute, goombah! Anthony Calfo in your service> Just one question on giving a Lemonpeel Angel a Methylene Blue/Fresh Water dip. Is it safe to give a Lemonpeel a 5 to 10 minute dip? Read the FAQ's and your page on Centropyge but didn't find my answer. I am planning to purchase this fish and just not sure if I should dip the Lemonpeel. Thanks very much! <a properly conducted freshwater dip of at least five minutes (aerated, buffered, temperature adjusted, etc) is fine for the angel... towards ten minutes with discretion. The problem is the Methylene blue. Centropyge angels are sensitive to metals (like copper) and organic dyes (like Methylene blue). Do consider Formalin instead for the medicated bath and follow mfg dose. Freshwater alone is fine too if you believe the fish to be in good health for starters before going into quarantine (you are putting him in quarantine right?!?) Kindly, Anthony> Ron

Re: Lemonpeel Angel Anthony, you are a good Dude.  <yes. thank you... when I'm not being a strict marine Nazi (remember the soup Nazi episode on Seinfeld?), hehe...> Definitely going into the Q-tank. Thanks Again, Ron <excellent! Best of luck to you, Anthony>

Ich Its me again I know I am being a real pain but I am very attached to my fish. I performed my first ever fresh water dip first I dipped the powder blue for 2 minutes and that went good then I dipped my Sweetlips about a minute 20 seconds into it he went belly up and I panicked and quickly removed him from the fresh water dip and back into the QT tank is that normal. <it has been demonstrated that FW dips less than 3 minutes are nearly ineffective for most targeted pathogens. And a good rule is that a fish that cannot make it through a properly conducted five minute dip is not likely to survive any other treatment either (numbered days). SW fish are not necessarily going to act normal in FW... they are stressed indeed. Some will swim casually and even eat food if offered (not recommended ever!). Most act sluggish and a bit stunned and may even lay down on the bottom of the dip bucket (quite normal and OK). Severe reactions are generally attempts to leap out of the water or spit streams of water up out of the bucket... this is a case for removal. If your Sweetlips simply sunk like a rock... sounds normal to me. Pulling both fish under three minutes honestly did more harm than good. I wish we could go into very specific detail for everybody, but time just doesn't allow it on subjects like this that have been written at great length here on WWM (articles, FAQ's and or Forum) and elsewhere on the net... not to mention many books too. We do appreciate you caring enough about your fish to ask questions and especially of us. At this point, you really need to do the research, my friend, and make an informed decision based on an intelligent consensus and commit to it. I personally dip for 5 minutes minimum. Some large scaled and hardy fishes can actually take quite a bit more. Best regards>

Questions on dips Bob/Crew, I have a few questions for you on dips for new livestock: 1) How long should one dip (freshwater, ph & temp adjusted) the following fish before putting them into quarantine: Banggai Cardinals, Firefish gobies, Mandarin Dragonet, dwarf angels, tangs? Is 10 minutes too long if they aren't showing signs of stress? If not, could I risk a 15 min dip? (I'd really like to stretch it out past 15 min.s if this isn't too risky to eliminate as many parasites as possible). <10-15 minutes with aeration of the dip/bath material for these species should be fine. The real "bottom line" for any given specimen is actual observation on your part... you will be able to tell if the animal is overly stressed> 2) I've read a book on marine fish medications/disease where they recommend giving fish a 5-10 freshwater dip daily, for 2-5 days. Is this a good thing to do - better than a single dip?  <Most circumstances, specimens, fewer, longer dips for whatever reasons are best... it is more stressful and damaging to keep netting, manipulating livestock> If so, would you return them to a new quarantine tank after each dip (rather than returning them to the q-tank that they came from for fear of reinfection)? <Depends on the reason for dipping. In practical terms, they generally must be placed to the "just removed from" quarantine set-up... For folks with more than one such rig, a freshly made-up setting can be used, with the old one dumped, bleached between uses.> 3) Which of the above are not tolerant of Methylene blue?  <All> On a prior email, you indicated that dwarf angels can't tolerate methyl blue and suggested that I research other species for methyl blue tolerance.  <Mmm, not me> Where can I find a systematic list of recommended freshwater dip durations per species, and info regarding medication toxicity on a per species basis? <Cursory reading of Nelson Herwig, Fish Diseases... Edward Noga's work is worthwhile as well...> I've search several websites and have not found anything (or found conflicting statements). I haven't had much luck with finding good definitive/detailed info in published books either. I've even gone to the websites of medication manufacturers w/o much luck. <The names mentioned above are not easily found... perhaps a college library, book finding service, or large public aquarium with a book buyer...> Thanks. Sorry for questions who's answers are probably obvious to most, but these details drive me nuts and your website answers seem to be the most trustworthy. <Thank you... The Net will become something more, better with time... Bob Fenner>

Re: Questions on dips Bob, Thanks for the reply - you are unbelievably responsive! However, now that I'm clear on the fact that methyl-blue is fairly benign, I have another question. I have been having problems with freshwater dips - the fish do VERY well during the dip, but the problem is AFTER the dip when I return them to the salt water quarantine tank (I've been using methyl-blue with the FW dip). When I return the fish to the SW q-tank, they show signs of oxygen-starvation (panting - sink to bottom, fall to side, etc). I've also had some fish appear to show small lesions on their body within a day of the dip - about the size of a pinhead - as if the flesh beneath the scale had 'popped'. The FW I use is RO/DI water, and the SW comes from my existing reef tanks. I've documented my receiving protocol below - could you take a look at give me suggestions on why I'm having prob.s with step#5? Thanks! PROTOCOL: I use baking soda and a ph pen and seem to have success with freshwater dips, but have problems AFTER the dip. Here's my protocol: 1) Set up quarantine tank (has water from main display tank): temp-77F, PH-8.0-8.2, Alk 9.8, 2) set up freshwater dip: temp 77F, PH 8.0, airstone in 1 gal dip tank runs for 2 hours to oxygenate and continues to run in corner of dip while fish are treated. I use Methyl-blue (a 5% mix. I add several drops to the 1 gal dip container until the solution is deep blue). 3) When I get the fish, I do the following before dipping: A) - float bag in container of salt water (not same container as dip or q-tank) for 15 min.s to adjust temp to 77F. B) open bag and pour contents into a hard plastic container. C) I add salt water (ph=8.0-8.2, alk=9.8, temp=77F) to the plastic container with shipping water gradually, over 30 min.s, until I've tripled the original shipping volume (this is an attempt to slowly adjust the shipping water's PH to 2/3 of the way to PH of 8.0. <I take it these are "local" purchases... some longer time/hauls might call for not mixing the shipping water... due to nitrogenous wastes concentration, lowered pH in this water... and consequent burns with adding the new to it> 4) I begin the dip: I use a small plastic container to scoop the fish out of the container in step#3 instead of a net (minimize stress) and attempt to drain most of the water from container used to scoop the fish before adding the fish to the dip mix. The fish seem to tolerate the dip well - they may exhibit some rapid movement initially, but continue to swim around throughout the dip - no jumping. I run the dip for up to 20 min.s (to eliminate Brooklynella, which I've heard requires a 15 min dip). 5) I move the fish from the dip to the quarantine tank. Here's where the problem begins: The fish sink to bottom, with rapid gill movement, but lethargic fish activity. I had a cinnamon clown that died 1 day later (never recovered from the lethargy) and it had several pinhead sized sores on its body (looked like the flesh had 'popped' under the scales). There were NO sores on the fins. Another angel (keyhole), died within 1 hour of being placed in the q-tank (no visible sores, but it had rapid gill movement/lethargy). Another Lemonpeel angel died within 4 days - after it recovered from its lethargy, it appeared to have problems with its swim bladder - it always pointed almost straight up toward the surface. It also have very rapid gill movement. <Mmm, strange... all of your protocol, procedure looks very sharp... I might well lower the spg in your quarantine system initially (to the upper "teens"... add extra aeration there, limit light intensity, and possibly add a hexose simple sugar (about a teaspoon per five gallons)... the last an old-timer, now "Vital" treatment. Otherwise, I'd be looking for better suppliers of your livestock. Bob Fenner>

Puffer problems Thanks so much, Anthony! How long should I leave my puffer in the Formalin dip?  <simply for the duration of your normal FW dip... 10-15 minutes is long but recommended in this case (I agree with your decision)> Also, can you tell me why Bob's book recommends copper for puffers? <indeed... as aquarists we all have different perspectives and often a recommendation must be made at times on a case by case basis. I would agree that puffers are VERY hardy among scaleless fishes and for a common white spot infection (Crypt) copper may be short and sweet and tolerable. However, since you have not mentioned clear white spots and have informed us that you are seeing blotches and resistance to long FW baths... that tells me that the possible parasite is deep enough in the flesh (to resist FW alone) that to get enough copper in the system to kill the fish might very well kill the puffer first.> Karen <Ultimately, my best advice dear is to put the puffer in a bare bottomed QT tank for 4 weeks with more FW dips and short and long Formalin baths. Best regards, Anthony>

Dipping New Arrivals Good morning, I have a fish and some Macroalgae arriving this morning from FFE and I have a couple of quick questions. Should I FW dip the fish upon arrival or just put him in the QT right away since he's been stressed and traveling all night? <Quarantine> Also, is it possible to FW dip Macroalgae for a few minutes? <Not sure if it can be done, but I wouldn't. Little to no threat of pathogens.> Will FW harm the algae or is it better to just swish it a little in saltwater? <I would do neither. Just acclimate and then place Caulerpa into your system while discarding the bag water.> Thank you, Chip <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Dips help bob, I've read your article on fresh water dips and maybe I'm such a novice because it seemed way over my head. <Mmm, as you are obviously a reader/writer of English, and intelligent, this is a failing on my part. The work/s are intended for general audiences of a wide reading and understanding level. Let's see where the lack is> I have a 30 gallon tank with a small gold stripe Maroon clown and small coral beauty. <Yikes... this system is a bit small for these fishes... the Maroon may prove too much for the Dwarf Angel here> I also had a royal Gramma for about 6 months that died last week, kind of out of the blue, and about a week after I added the angel and two hermits. Upon review of the Gramma before burial I could not see any physical oddities. <Okay> could the angel or crabs have brought an unwanted present? <Possibly. Perhaps just "stress" proved too much... too much disparate, negatively interacting life in too small a space> also, two weeks before his demise I raised the ph via buffer from 8.0 to 8.3 following the directions on the product. salinity was about 1018 - 1019 temp around 75 <Mmm, I would raise your spg to more like natural seawater (1.025) over time> subsequently I added 15lbs of live rock a couple attached a protein skimmer, and done 2 -15% water changes <The skimmer and live rock will help, definitely> now the clown is acting weird, not really eating the last two days or as perky as in the past. he was the first fish and had him since September. Though there are no white spots anywhere, I think I notice some "velvety" substance on his body - but I could be hallucinating too. Hence, I thought just for prevention I would investigate dipping the clown. I have no quarantine tank and never dipped a fish before. <I see> if I read your procedure correctly, can I simply put the clown in a bucket of fresh dechlorinated tap water at or slightly above the tank temp for a couple minutes. with careful observation? how can I make sure the ph is the same? <Use baking soda to elevate the pH, make the dip/bath longer, several minutes if possible> I was contemplating copper, but after reading your materials, understand it kill the rock is just purchased. thanks for anything. <Let's keep discussing your situation, studying until you are comfortable with your course of actions. Bob Fenner>

Re: dips help thanks for responding so soon, > <Yikes... this system is a bit small for these fishes... the Maroon may prove too much for the Dwarf Angel here> though he did nose the angel around a bit at the beginning the clown is really quite little and docile. also I've tried to create enuf hiding places and swim throughs for the angel. > <Mmm, I would raise your spg to more like natural seawater (1.025) over > time> I've never had the salinity that high, I was worried it was even too high. <Let's keep discussing your situation, studying until you are comfortable with your course of actions. Bob Fenner> Do you see any problem with waiting a couple days to see if anything changes, or should I just try a dip. (don't worry no liability to you). <A good idea. Best to be patient> Maybe he's just bored with the food - flakes and angel veggie formula cubes. In the meantime I'll try to bring up the salinity a bit. I also have an external charcoal filter and airstone going all the time. I could add a power head if you think that would help. <And do read here re others experiences with vitamins and other nutritive supplements: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrdisf.htm Bob Fenner>

Update: Dips Help have now done 2, 20% water changes, as water tests revealed slightly elevated ammonia. last night the little guy looked better a little more active and had some dinner, this morning he ate again but did reveal some white spots on his body. (2d change). local pet shop who did the water tests suggested 2 hour bath for clown and tang with mix of quick cure and Furacyn. my reading of your comments including clown articles is that you dislike chemicals. what do you think ? stay with water changes? salinity 1018 temp 78 <Worth trying, doing both. Bob Fenner>

Sterilization & Freshwater Dips Bob, <Steven Pro in this evening.> I have a few more questions on sterilizations and dips: 1) How much sodium thiosulfate is needed to neutralize bleach that is in a tap water solution ( 1 cup of bleach ( the bleach is a 6% sodium hypochlorite solution - 'Ultra Clorox regular bleach') per gallon of tapwater). (I would like to use the bleach to 'sterilize' quarantine tanks after they've been used.) <First drain out the bleach and water solution. Then add tapwater and four times the recommended amount of De-Chlor should do it.> 2) Can a fresh water dip be made less 'shocking' to the fish by making it slightly saline (say 1.008 SG?) while still retaining the beneficial parasite killing effect of the dip? <Not really. Freshwater dips are not that shocking if performed properly. They are just shocking to the owners.> If so, what is the highest SG that can be used - and how long should the dip be? Are there other things that can be done to the FW dip to make it less shocking to the fish while retaining its beneficial qualities (other than adjusting ph and temp)? <For the above questions, see the previous answer.> Do you know of any aquaculture research into the effective kill rate of varying SG's/durations against the common saltwater fish disease/pathogens? <I have several excellent works on marine fish diseases, but they have conflicting times listed. Andrews, Dr. Chris, Adrian Exell, and Dr. Neville Carrington. 1988. The Manual of Fish Health. Blacksburg, VA: Tetra Press. Bassleer, Gerald. 1996. Diseases in Marine Aquarium Fish: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment. Westmeerbeek, Belgium: Bassleer Biofish. Gratzek, Dr. John B., Dr. Richard E. Wolke, Dr. Emmett B. Shotts Jr., Dr. Donald Dawe, and George C. Blasiola. 1992. Aquariology: Fish Diseases & Water Chemistry. Blacksburg, VA: Tetra Press. Untergasser, Dieter. 1989. Handbook of Fish Diseases. Neptune, NJ: TFH Publications. The above are all good books.> 3) When receiving fish from a mail-order company that does NOT use an ammonia neutralizer in its shipping water, should a person add some to the shipping water immediately after opening the bag, or would this be harder on the fish than NOT adding ammonia neutralizer. (I'm using an ammonia neutralizer that does NOT affect the pH). I'm assuming that opening the bag raises the PH in the water, making any ammonia in it much more toxic. <Read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimat.htm> 4) same question as #3, except in this case, its for invertebrates. <Same as above with this added reading http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm> 5) where can I find a definitive list of maximum recommended FW dip durations for the general species of marine fish sold in the trade? <I do not know of one source complying them all.> (I know some species can't tolerate a 10 minute dip, but other than a few warnings in your FAQs on specific species, I've never seen a definitive list). <No set number will or could be your guide. You must observe the fish closely to signs of problems regardless of species.> 6) Lastly, when receiving mail order fish, is it beneficial to fish get the fish to recover from the shipping process prior to doing the Fw dip (i.e., temp acclimate them, then slowly adjust their PH/salinity to their quarantine parameters over 30 minutes, and then put them in the quarantine tank for several days to allow them to stabilize before giving them a FW dip. Then put them in the FW dip and move them to a new quarantine tank)? <Put them in the quarantine tank first then dip upon transfer.> If so, how many days should the fish be given before giving them the FW dip. (This 'recovery period' seems reasonable to me, but I've never seen anyone mention it). <Standard to wait at least two weeks before moving the fish with four being better. You can dip as part of a treatment program the next day.> I realize I'm hitting you with a lot of questions on dips, but I'm trying to come up with the best acclimation/receiving process possible. Thanks! <One final thought. Any fish that does not make it through a FW dip was probably not going to make it anyhow. -Steven Pro>  

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