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FAQs on HLLE, Head and Lateral Line Disease 2

Related Articles: Head and Lateral Line Disease, Algae Filters Articles, Caulerpa Algae

Related FAQs: HLLE 1HLLE 3, HLLE 4, & FAQs on HLLE: Causes/Etiology, Cures, Non-Cures, SW Case Histories, FW Case Histories, Vitamins in Marine Systems,

French Angel with HLLE

Purple Tang with horrible HLLE (and he does mean HORRIBLE)... Will he recover with time (this is not due to my neglect but purchased with some other tank inhabitants from a tank being torn down)? What specifically should I be feeding him? <Vitamins A, D, E enriched foods, supplements to the water... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and the next Related FAQ file... linked above> I was thinking frozen Marine A/brine shrimp with Zoecon and garlic. His behavior is normal but he sure is ugly. I doubt I could even find him a home if I did want to get rid of him for a healthier specimen. I wouldn't want to kill him in favor of a new fish but I can't have two in a 150 and a fish store certainly isn't going to take him... Thanks for all the help, y'all rock! Cheers, Marshall <Use of "mud" filtration has been shown to improve this condition remarkably as well... basically any/all efforts at improving water quality and/or nutrition are to the good. Bob Fenner> 

HLLE Article Hey Bob! I am currently compiling references for a future article on marine head and lateral line erosion and can't seem to locate one in particular. Tom Frakes wrote about this condition in one of the 1988 issues of SeaScope in which I believe he links activated carbon to HLLE. Would you happen to have a copy of this in your library? Thanks, Steven <Do have this (and a complete set of SS I believe...), the piece was done by George Blasiola (out lifting weights at the moment no doubt)... Also have a blurb by Scott Michael from AFM 9/03... Steve Collins on "Dietary Control of HLLE in Blue Tangs (SS Summer 95)... that you might want to see. Do you folks have a fax? BobF> 

Titanium grounding rod DANGER!  Bob, <James> Just something I'd like to pass on to you should a question arise on the www. Do encourage people NOT to use these things.  <I don't, and never have> They are a potentially very dangerous item to have in the aquarium. A friend of mine decided to pull his grounding rod out of the tank to clean the algae off it. Unknowingly, he had a powerhead that was electrically defective as far as insulation goes. Well, he grabbed the rod in one hand and had the other hand in the water, and presto, since he was connected directly to earth ground he got quite a jolt which caused his arm to go numb for some time and also created nervous twitches for about a week.  Regards, James (Salty Dog) <Yeeikes! Bob F>

HLLE Early Signs? My tang has developed loss of pigmentation around the mouth, on just one side so far.  Just overnight.  Would this develop  into HLLE or is this something else? <Sounds like the early signs of HLLE, could also be a natural nuance of his coloration.> have not really seen this question on the website but similar with references to HLLE, but I am not sure if that is what this is. <Feed him lots of fresh algae and use Selcon on his foodstuffs.  If you're using lettuce, stop ASAP.  Use dried Nori on a feeding clip.  Good luck, Ryan> Thx
Judi L.

Hole in the head ??????????????? Hello how are you ? <Fine, yourself?> I am having trouble with one my fish a Naso vlamingi I thing it is hole in the head but there is also some white stuff were the hole is and also starting around the lateral line and around the eye I really do not know what to do seems to get worst and worst water quality is good all other fish have no problem and I had this fish for around 2-3 years (picture attach to this e-mail) what do you think ? <Is HLLE and some sort of other involvement... likely all nutritional and environmental in origin... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and the materials archived on marine environmental disease... check, improve water quality, bolster nutrition... Bob Fenner>

HLLE Treatment Please HELP!  I stumbled across your site and I think it has loads of information to offer. It's absolutely wonderful! <We're so glad you stumbled by! Scott F. with you here tonight> I'm having a problem with a 5 inch yellow tang that I have had for a little over 4 months. The fish is displaying the beginning signs of lateral line disease.  It is behaving normally...eating well, defending his "house", and very active.  I've heard that you can feed them broccoli with fresh squeezed orange juice on it.  Is this true?  Will it have any adverse effects on my tank? <Sounds like one of the smoothies I had recently! I am not a big fan of terrestrial greens to feed marine fishes. In addition to being nutritionally inadequate for marine fishes (IMO), they can add a lot of undesirable nitrate into you tank. I'd be utilizing live marine macroalgae as a supplemental food source> Will it actually help?  This fish regularly eats spinach, green marine algae, red marine algae, Spirulina enhanced brine shrimp. <The marine algae are good. How about trying some Gracilaria (Ogo), my favorite macroalgae? You can get a great starter culture from Indo-Pacific Sea Farms (www.ipsf.com). This stuff is one of the best foods for captive herbivorous tangs, IMO> I try to be as precise as I can about nutrition with all the fish in my aquarium...but am I missing something? Thank you! Desperate to save fish! <Well, Desperate- your dietary array is pretty darn good. Keep in mind that HLLE (Head and Lateral Line Erosion) can also be caused by environmental factors, such as water chemistry, and even exotic stuff, like stray electrical voltage. Do some searching on the net regarding this malady, and you'll get some more insights that may be of help. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

HLLE & Other Questions (5/21/04) I have a 3" yellow tang in a 55 gallon tank. It is extremely healthy with nothing abnormal in his behavior. It is also an aggressive eater. The problem is that it is has red abrasions on its head which are like holes with white inside, it almost looks like several huge scars. He has had this for a while, but just recently its lateral line started fading to a white color. None of the other fish have this disease( they are extremely healthy). Could all these symptoms be an indication of HLLE? <Sounds rather likely. I'd suggest you read up on the subject and seek possible causes. There are a number of theories. Maintain pristine water conditions and excellent nutrition, including lots of marine algae.> If not what is it? <One wonders about a bacterial infection, but I'd expect the fish to be acting sicker.> I know the disease is nutrition and water quality related, but my water conditions are very good and I feed it marine flakes, formula II preparations, and red dried seaweed (it also eat the high protein food I drop in for the other fish). <Might at some Selcon too. Live Gracilaria is an excellent tang food. Learn about it at www.ipsf.com > So what could be its causes and remedy? <There was an excellent series of articles in Freshwater and Marine Aquarium last fall. You should be able to find it at a good library.> Second question, I am in the process of curing live rock. But before I place the rock in the aquarium, I want to remove all the nasty pests which reside within the rock. I know bristle worms and mantis shrimp are among these pests. <Actually, most bristleworms are beneficial detritivores. It's the big Fireworms that are a problem.> My questions are: What are the nasty pests that I need (and want) to remove? <Check here: http://www.reefs.org/hhfaq/ > What do they look like? <I really can't systematically describe them all. The site I mentioned has great pix. Also, you should consider buying Nilsen & Foss?s "Reef Secrets." Great book with good info on this subject and a lot of other subjects. And how do I remove them? <A brief dip in hypersaline water w ill drive most things out. Search WWM on the subject of removing hitchhikers for info. Hope this helps. Steve Allen.> 

Damage Caused By Copper? Or HLLE? Hi,  <Hello there! Scott F. here today!> I've got a question about head and lateral line disease. I recently treated my purple tang with copper for a presumed parasite, possibly ich. He was in copper sulfate for 9 days at the recommended dosage and using a copper test kit to measure levels. He was looking good up until the last day of treatment when I noticed he appeared to be getting head and lateral line disease which I presume is due to the copper. <Probably not HLLE, but it is possibly a skin "reaction" to the copper. I've seen this in other fishes before following copper treatment. HLLE is generally thought to be a result of long-term nutritional and environmental lapses.> He was fed well with its usual diet ( I've had him for 2 years) and was and still is eating very well. The tang is now back in a tank with copper free water with 0 ammonia, nitrates and nitrites. My question is will this resolve on its own with good water quality, proper diet and iodine and vitamin supplements. <It should. If it is damage caused by the copper, it certainly can heal up. HLLE-related symptoms also can spontaneously go into remission and disappear over time, with attention to good environmental conditions and diet> Also is the disfigurement permanent to the fish. Thanks for the help, Larry in Minnesota. <In my experience, Larry, the damage that you see is not permanent. There is no 100% guarantee, but keep doing what you're doing and hope for the best! Regards, Scott F> 

HLLE  Can a Kole Tang develop HLLE disease within 10 days of being placed in a new tank? Purchased at LFS, started taking food ~ 7 days later, looks fine now except 2 perpendicular, depressed lines along the left side. Thanks for the great, informative site! Jeff <Yes, can develop this quickly... almost always related to "poor water quality", over-stress... and nutritional deficiency... How does your system, maintenance stack up re these? Bob Fenner> 

Re: HLLE  The tank is a 4 month old, 75 gal.. FOWLR (~80 #'s of LR). Ammonia <0.1 (trace if not 0.0); nitrite <0.1; salinity 1.022. I let the pH slip to 7.8, but have corrected this to 8.2 over 3 days.   <These "traces" are not good... do NOT add any more livestock till they are absent>  There's a flame back angel, flame Hawkfish, saddle back clown and a green Chromis in the tank as well. Feeding mostly frozen "San Francisco Bay Brand" foods, Porphyra yezoensis green seaweed, both soaked in Kent Zoe formula. He's extremely active now and feeding aggressively. All the tank mates seem to be thriving. He was extremely shy to begin with and refused to eat  anything. He is constantly grazing on the LR now.  <Sounds good nutrition- and behaviorally>  What are the chances I can reverse this process? Can he heal up the areas that are affected? Thanks again for your prompt advice.  Jeff  <Very good chance of reversal, complete healing... I encourage you to add another food to your regimen. Spectrum fish food... will take a few trials to introduce (blend some in with the other foods), but its nutritional input will speed the resolution of this erosive condition. Bob Fenner>

Marine Velvet With A Side Order of HLLE? Hey Scott, <Hi there!> This whole situation just keeps getting worse. Yesterday I was observing the tang to see if there were still dusty flecks on his head when I realized he is also suffering from Head and Lateral Line Erosion. <A common problem. Not really life-threatening, at least in the short term-but something to address nonetheless> I have never had to deal with this before. After reading the notes on your site I have ordered some red seaweed (Gracilaria parvispora) it is due to arrive on Thursday is HLLE fast acting or will this shipment arrive in time? < "Ogo" to the rescue! Excellent move! Try to culture this stuff! It's a bit tricky, but once you get the hang of Gracilaria culture, you'll be the most popular guy among all your Tang-geek friends! Gracilaria is the greatest stuff in the world for tangs, IMO! And it tastes pretty good with poke, too! Honestly, I have not heard of a fish dying from HLLE. It is more of a "condition" than a disease (well, maybe I didn't quite say that right?). Regardless, it is indicative of some potential nutritional or environmental shortcomings. With tangs, it usually seems to be in the nutritional department. With a little TLC, and lots of fresh Gracilaria, I'll bet that you'll see an improvement. Do monitor environmental parameters, too...> The fish still seems pretty happy. I have also looked around for supplemental vitamins but there doesn't seem to be any available in my area. I am currently feeding him Seaweed Selects green marine algae and brine shrimp. I have tried feeding him Mysid shrimp but he's really not interested in them. I will be going to the pet store today to see what other foods they have available. Do you have any suggestions? <You could save a few bucks and get some plain, unseasoned sushi Nori from a local Asian market and it will do the same job as the "aquarium packaged" algae. Look for Boyd Vita Chem, which is a great vitamin supplement for food. Most aquarium shops carry it, or can get it for you...Or you could buy it online. Regardless of how you get it- it's good stuff> Also there was a suggestion that iodine supplements would be useful, Are these just added to the tanks water? <Yes, but only add stuff to the water if testing dictates the necessity to do so...> There was also a medication called Hexa-Mit (metronidazole) antibiotic at the pet store that claims to be useful in the treatment of Marine Velvet and Hole in the Head, what is your opinion of this? <It is a good medication, but I prefer formalin or copper-based products to treat Amyloodinium...And it sounds like yours is "out of the woods" now, right?> Thanks again, Aaron <Hang in there, Aaron! With a little TLC, this tang should pull through just fine! Regards, Scott F>

Attacking HLLE Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I have had my half moon angel fish for 7 months. he is in great shape except for the last 3 months he has had HLLE. I know that HLLE is a deficiency in the diet. <Well, that's one theory, anyways...> For the last 2 months, I have been feeding him mysis shrimp mixed with garlic Enhancer & Iodine. A month ago I got a pack of special frozen angel food, which he does not really like! <Sheesh- doesn't he know that he's SUPPOSED to like it? What's wrong with him?  :) > I have been feeding him the above and some pellet food about 3 times a day. The HLLE has got a bit better but it is still pretty bad. He is a beautiful fish that doesn't look right with HLLE on its face. What else can I do.......? Thank you <I'd keep doing what you're doing, diet wise, but I'd add a few more items, like mysis and maybe some macroalgae (like Gracilaria). Also, since another cause of HLLE is thought to be environmental, I'd keep up the water changes and other husbandry techniques to keep water quality as high as possible. You may very well see a remission or reversal if you keep at it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

HLLE? Dear Scott F. <Back with you!> In furthering our imperator diagnosis: Just to let you know about my water quality let me tell you what I have and what I am doing. My 210 (home of the fish) has 2 Tidepool II running through a thirty five watt UV, an ocean clear cartridge filter, I have a Berlin Turbo in one sump and I use a D-1 Diatom once a week till it clogs up. I am doing a 10 to 15% water change weekly with RO water. The Tidepools have a blue pad,2 bags of Chemi pure and bio stars in the three trays X 2.  Judging by what I am currently doing is there anything else I can do to improve water quality? I would love your assessment and recommendations. <Well, it sounds like your husbandry techniques are good. Assuming that your water quality is up to par, that leaves only a few other possibilities for HLLE, such as diet or the more exotic stuff, like stray electrical voltage (you can use a grounding probe to help remove stray voltage, BTW). I'd consider just about everything in your assessment. I suppose that, if we're dealing with HLLE, it may be diet...Even then, it may not be! That's one of the frustrating things about this malady! I'd do some research, and continue to maintain good water conditions and provide quality food, and observe the fish's progress from there. Good luck! Regards, Scott F> thanks again Kirt

HLLE? (Cont'd.) Hello Scott <Hi there!> In regards to the Imperator's diet and the other fish as well: I feed them spectrum A in the morning at midday I give them a little green stuff and at night I either give them frozen brine with liquid garlic by Kent or ocean nutrition's Prime Reef flake - Formula 1 and 2 and they all devour it! That is there basic diet some times for a treat I give them live brine. What do you think of this dietary program? <Well, it sounds pretty good to me! I have never been a big fan of too much brine shrimp for marine fish; I believe that they are a bit short on nutritional value for marine fish. Live brine shrimp also carry a potential risk for contamination or parasites, so do be careful with them . You may want to consider mysis shrimp as an alternative, instead. Other than that, I'd keep doing what you're doing! The mystery continues...Regards, Scott F> Thanks Kirt

HLLE Hi Bob, Doug Lansdale here. My wife and I met you and Anthony in Tulsa at the Zoo when you were speaking for OMAS. We had the problem with the Stars and Stripe puffer I you happen to remember. He had eaten the legs off of a green brittle star and I believe it had poisoned him. He lasted about 3 months but would not eat (tried everything I could think of to no avail) anyway, thanks for the help. Now I have a new problem. My brother in-law was given a Powder Blue Tang with HLLE. We put him in my quarantine tank and added Stress coat because he was breathing very hard, (I think because the bag was too small and did not have enough oxygen) This morning he is swimming around a little but still has somewhat labored breathing. I am doing a water change hoping this will correct this situation. Do you have any suggestions on what I could do for the HLLE to stop or at least control the HLLE. Do you think I should keep the lights off for a while? <Lighting has little to do with HLLE... unless it's a type of fish that usually lives in more/less subdued settings and being further stressed by the opposite> Thank you for all and any help you could provide. Your site is great and very informative. Thanks again. <Thank you Doug for your kind encouraging words. The best and currently only "treatment" (other than prevention) for this largely nutritional disorder is to provide complete, vitamin and HUFA rich foods AND excellent water quality (marines drink their environment). Have seen remarkable results with using "miracle mud" in filters resolve HLLE, Pablo Tepoot's "Spectrum" fish foods, or other supplementation to supply vitamins A and D... definitely stay away from terrestrial greens. Advanced cases can take several months to "patch up", but can be effected. Good luck. Bob Fenner>

HLLE Questions (1/5/2004) HI guys.... <Howdy. Steve Allen here tonight.> Just wanted to say that your site has helped me in MANY ways. <Helps me too.> I have been having a problem with HLLE in my Koran Angel for about 3 months now. <Frustrating, I am sure.> I have a FOWLR Tank with only a Koran and a clown (Lysmata, snails, etc) - It is a 75 Gallon tank - Fluval 404 filter and Bak Pak skimmer.  The levels are all perfect (ammonia = 0 nitrate = 0 etc. ) PH is at 8.0.  I have done water changes, feed her Formula One/Spectrum Thera a+ soaked in Selcon.  I have also installed a titanium grounding probe.  (all of advice I got in the forums) - But still no affect.  In fact, the spots around her head are larger and she now is showing discoloration on her "line" - Please advise.  I do not want to lose this Angel but I am trying everything!!! -Tom <Does it have algae to graze on. Angels need some algae in their diet. You could increase this with life algae like Gracilaria or prepared products like Formula Two or Sea Veggies. You might try some specific marine angel formulations such as Hikari Mega Marine Angel. There are may theories about HLLE, including stray voltage. You might want to read more on this on WWM and test your tank. FAMA (Freshwater and Marine Aquarium) magazine ran a series of articles about HLLE this past fall that you might want to seek out & read at a library. Have you read all the HLLE FAQs on WWM? Lots of ideas there too. Hope this helps some.>

- Feeding to Address HLLE - Hi Mr. Fenner, I have a 125 gallon saltwater tank (live rock, live sand), which has been set up for 3 years.  Residents are emperor angel (Adult), sohal tang, clown trigger and personifer angel.  I have been noticing that the sohal tang and the emperor angel are showing signs of hole in the head disease, which appears to be progressing.  I currently feed formula one and marine formula at night (soaked with vita chem or Zoecon) and in the morning I feed Julian Veggies (dried green seaweed).  Please offer any advise as to how I can reverse this problem. <The large angels need sponge material in their diet, you might try some Angel Formula for this, or... boost the amount of live rock in your tank. The Sohal is used to a life of picking fauna from the rocks and it's a hard food source to duplicate. Live rock will grow these foods in addition to the sponge material  I would consider getting some other foods into the mix, mysis shrimp, other meaty foods, sponge material for the angels, and more greens.> The other fish are doing fine. <Just try to mix it up.> Thanks always and happy holidays.. Gillian <Cheers, J -- >

- Feeding to Address HLLE, Follow-up - Hi J, Besides mixing up the food.  Are there any other vitamins I can use? <I like Selcon... but the VitaChem is certainly a good product, have used this and also the Garlic Elixir from Ecosystem Aquarium - is garlic based, but mostly vitamins.> Any particular greens you recommend? <Really, any marine-based are fine. You can save a few bucks by skipping the fish store stuff and going to a local Asian grocery and buying Nori from them.> Also my live rock, isn't very lush any more.  What can I do to keep them growing organisms (I sometimes add calcium).  Do you think getting new live rock would be better than trying to revive the old ones. <Yes, usually you need to supplement your live rock with new live rock - about 25-50% a year should be replaced.> Gillian <Cheers, J -- >

- Feeding to Address HLLE, Follow-up - Thanks J. <My pleasure.> I really appreciate your help here. I am in the process of ordering some Fiji live rock from the Marine Center. One more thing, besides adding calcium when I do my water changes, how else can I maintain constant growth of organisms on the live rock for my tangs and angels? The growth on my live rock die off after a while, I noticed you mentioned replaced 25-50% is the best way, so how do I maintain growth in the mean time. <Best to keep some brewing in a Rubbermaid bin with a powerhead, heater, and regular water changes. Then you can just swap your rock back and forth.> I will begin to mix up the diet per your suggestions, hopefully I can get this problem resolved. <I think you will but it will take some time. Don't forget the vitamins.> Thanks for helping, I now feel motivated and ready to go. Gillian <Cheers, J -- >

Carbon Causing HLLE? Hi Crew, thanks for taking my question. <Sure! Scott F. with you today!> First let me give you a brief history of my situation. I have a hippo tang that developed hole in head disease early on. It is stable (some scaring around the head) and has been there for about a year and a half or so. Anyway, he developed ich a little while back, I believe it was from a wrasse that I added without quarantine. <A lesson learned, huh?> I put all my fish, 1 tang, 2 clowns and the wrasse in a 35 gallon plastic container (quarantine) for 8 weeks while I let the tank run fishless to get rid of the parasites. I decided to use the  "siphoning bottom of tank everyday" method to cure (no copper) and it worked great. <Well done! Glad to hear that!> Now to the point. During the eight weeks in quarantine, my hippo tang showed tremendous improvement regarding the HLLE, the scarring around his head was reduced by at least 50%. Problem is, I put him back in the display tank and all the progress has reversed and the scaring went back to the way it was. There is no way the water quality in the quarantine tank was better than the display. I was using tap water, a power head, a heater and a sponge filter. The display tank  gets RO + DI water, 20% bi weekly water changes, live rock, live sand, better diet, steady temp, etc. So I figured it was the lack of carbon use that helped reverse HLLE. I did not use Carbon at all in the quarantine and run it constantly in my display tank. So I want to experiment and stop using Carbon in my display tank. <Well, that could be one possibility...I'm quite skeptical, because use of carbon far outweighs any possible ill effects that could happen, IMO. Yes, some people claim that carbon depletes trace elements, but if you are conducting regular water changes, this argument doesn't hold up, IMO. Anecdotally, you could proceed under the hypothesis that carbon contributed to the HLLE condition, but I don't know how it will work out. An interesting experiment, however. I commend you for trying! Do consider other possibilities, such as "stray voltage" in the display tank, or other possible environmental factors, too...Test for all of the basic parameters, and then some!> Will this effect my Coral in anyway? I have a Bubble, Torch, Candy Cane, Various Polyps and Xenia. <Well, activated carbon helps remove all sorts of allelopathic compounds that are released by corals on a regular basis. You might see some differences in the health of these animals if you discontinue its use in this tank.> Should I increase my water changes, or is it not necessary? <I'd consider more frequent water changes to help compensate> Will the protein skimmer pick up the slack? I use a Aqua-C Remora. <Aggressive protein skimming will definitely help, too.> Thanks for you input. Ang. <My pleasure, Ang. Do test your theory, but also look at other possible factors along the way...I'm sure that you'll have some interesting results to report! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Emperor with HLLD >Good afternoon folks at WWM, >>Greetings. >After exhausting all resources I am finally breaking down to ask you a question.  First, let me start by giving you a brief description of my problem.  I have an emperor angel that has developed a serious condition of HLLD.  It is to the point that his entire face is almost completely pitted as well as his lateral line.  I have followed all suggestions found in all your related articles but nothing seems to be working.   >>It would be helpful to have an outline of what suggestions have been tried, to what extent, as well as timeline.  In any event... >My tank is a 90 gal. FO, up and running for about 3 years, with some ornamental corals, one small piece of LR and about 2-3" of LS.  Filtration is through a wet dry filter and protein skimmer of unknown type (a gift from a friend) which does produce cups of dark green product on a regular basis.  I took your advice and bought a large Rubbermaid trash can and powerhead to mix my own water.  Using Instant Ocean salt and Seachem's Prime for chlorine and chloramine removal and tapwater, I am able to do 10- 15 gal water changes each week  (the LFS said no other chemicals were needed due to our water quality).  When tested, all water qualities appear within normal limits.   >>We prefer to know actual readings, test kit brand is helpful as well.  As I'm sure you can understand, there are many varying definitions of "within normal limits" or "acceptable parameters". >Livestock includes: 1-emperor angel 4" beginning to change colors 1-hippo tang 5" 1-powder brown tang 4" 1-sailfin tang 4" in the recovering stages of HLLD >>This system is already overstocked, especially with consideration to adult sizes of these first four residents. >1-yellow tang 4" 2- small damsels (blue with yellow tails) 1-sebae clown with anemone 1-CB shrimp 2-sandsifter stars 2-useless brittle stars >>Believe me, they're not useless. >1-small queen conch multiple Astrea snails In the morning they are fed one cube each of Angel Formula and Formula Two by Ocean Nutrition soaked in Kent's Marine C, and in the evening one sheet of Nori and some silversides both soaked in Boyd's Vita-Chem.   >>ALL these fish are fed only two cubes of frozen food?  In my opinion they are underfed.  Also, I MUCH prefer Selcon, and it can be ordered online. >On the recommendation of my LFS, I have installed a grounding probe.  The only thing that I have not done is to add American Marine Selcon and this is due to not being able to find it locally.  The LFS also suggested that if what I am doing does not work, that I could inject the vitamins directly into the base of the tail with a small syringe.  Ever heard of that?   >>Oh my goodness, an extreme measure, I think it would be more stressful than helpful.   >The Sailfin tang also had a bout of HLLD but seems to be in the recovering stages.  All fish have a healthy appetite and otherwise appear  in great condition, everyone seems to be happy and getting along.  What am I missing (besides a larger tank, which is hopefully in the future if my wife lets me)? I would really like to see my angel clear up and complete his color change.  Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.  Steve >>Personally, I would try using Selcon instead of the other vitamins, and I would definitely feed more.  Also, if you can't get a larger tank VERY soon then I strongly suggest thinning the herd.  Marina      

HLLE Thanks Ian - The pitting is very minimal, if that is what it is. His color is still a very striking bright deep blue. Nitrates are 0. I feed mainly frozen food (Marine Cuisine?), and an algae-kelp-seaweed pellet food that I soak in Kent's Zoe (going to get Boyd's Vita-chem soon.) His lateral line fades in and out of black and white throughout the day.<hmm..well all you can do is just feed vitamin enriched food, and keep up the good water quality> I wish I could send a photo, but my camera is not able to focus past the acrylic panels, so you couldn't see much. What I've decided to do, using the powers of logic and internet shopping, is too feed this guy the same diet rich in vitamins C & D, whether he has HLLE or not (since there's not much else I can do.) Also will start putting broccoli in there for him to munch on.<sounds like you are on the right track my friend> No need to ground my tank as all power stuff is external (pumps, no powerheads.)<yes, this could have been the problem but since everything is external I wouldn't be concerned> Thanks for the help....<your welcome, IanB> SLC

- HLLE Solutions - Hello. <Good morning.> I have a question. I read through a lot of your responses on Hole in the Head and lateral line disease. I work at a local pet store, where we sell marine fish. I know what you're thinking, but we are one of the few that know what we're talking about. Anyway, here is my question. We have a few purple tangs with lateral line, they're in our sick tanks and unfortunately not getting the best treatment. Generally any fish we have with lateral line is not going to be sold. <Quite true.> Recently, my manager and I were thinking of ways to stop, and slightly reverse this disease. I had the idea of putting the tangs, one at a time of course, into a 40 gallon reef set up we have full of Caulerpa. Do you think that a combination of this large amount of live veggie matter and daily feedings of formula 2 and Zoe soaked dried algae (we've found the Zoe to give us better results than the vita chem but is seems you prefer the vita chem) would help reverse and maybe in time help to heal part of this disease? <I think it would help, but I'm sure like most stores you don't really have the time [and time equals money] to give these fish the treatment they need. HLLE won't go away in a week or even a month... it takes many months in conditions conducive to healing. Your idea of a tank full of Caulerpa is a good idea, but at this point you might as well just harvest the live algae and offer it as food. If you leave a single tang in that tank it will eventually deplete the live algae, leaving the tank barren for the next tang.> Like I said, we've never tried to reverse the disease when it's this far along. Any input would be great. <Unfortunately, I think your best option is to try and hold on to these fish for less time - if that means ordering fewer tangs in each order, then so be it. Due to the time between capture and arrival in your store [most often less than a week], it's less than rare to have a tang ship to you with HLLE, which means this problem is developing while they are being held at your facility. Consider perhaps keeping on hand a couple of types of live algae [Gracilaria, Caulerpa, etc.] for feeding these specimens in their individual cubes rather than a system to keep them in.> Thanks. Kristen <Cheers, J -- >

- Head & Lateral Line Erosion? - I have noticed a problem only w/ a Sailfin tang and coral beauty in my reef. They have some deterioration or a small little pocket of missing flesh right in front (the tang), above and behind (coral beauty) their eyes. I believe this might be construed as HLLD but I'm not sure as the other fish are fine. This came on suddenly when I received an older Ocean Motion microprocessor wave maker and put it into use. At first I didn't know how to program it properly and it had about a 10 second interval. Soon after I adj. it for only once every minute or so. After about two weeks I noticed this condition to only the fish mentioned above. I promptly removed it and just ran the power heads full time as before. Since then after several months it doesn't appear that the fish's problem has improved but it hasn't gotten worse either!? Nothing else has changed from before or since as I've had these fish for well over a year and all other fish are fine in appearance. I figured maybe they were stressed as the possible cause for the problem but I can't see why they don't improve. I feed mostly dry foods as they prefer it and don't really eat the frozen Prime Reef really anymore. The dry consists mostly of Ocean Nutrition #1 & #2 sm. pellets, Spectrum Thera +A antiparasitic, and Aquadine (both types - red and green mixed). <I'd skip the anti-parasitic unless they really need it.> They don't get each thing every day as I like to alternate these and don't overfeed. I don't put romaine lettuce or use Nori because they seem to foul rather easily after not too much time. Also, I have a ground probe installed and also a GFCI and I know the ground is good (I did the electrical work myself). I'm enclosing a pic of the tang for you to see what I'm talking about. The Coral Beauty's problem isn't really a hole as it's more like someone took a little sandpaper to it's area. Thanks for your help in advance! Joe in SoCal <Joe, a couple of things come to mind. First, HLLE is not well-understood but for the most part seems to be caused almost entirely by nutritional deficiencies. I've seen HLLE blamed of stray electrical current, but quite honestly if you have your tank equipment plugged into a GFCI then any 'stray' electrical current will pop the breaker, it really is that simple. So... there is rarely stray electrical current in a fish tank. So back to the nutrition... both of the fish you mention are constant grazers in the wild - I've watched tangs and pygmy angels where they live and they constantly pick on algae growing on the corals, rock, and substrate. The only time they aren't grazing is when they are sleeping. My feeling here is that as much as you think you're providing adequate nutrition for your fish, you actually aren't. Consider keeping a quantity of live rock in a separate system, always brewing so that it develops a healthy covering of algae, then swap it out with some rock in the tank, putting the rock from the tank into the brewing system. This would provide a constant cycle of natural food for the fish to pick at. Likewise, I'd also try to get some meaty foods in there, and flake foods are not a good substitute - much like potato chips for people, and a very large expense if you look at the cost per pound, especially compared to their frozen counterparts. Some things for you to consider. Cheers, J -- >

Reversing HLLE? I noticed what appears to be the very first signs of lateral line disease in my newly added blue regal tang. It looks like a few very small white spot down the lateral line of his body. it is a very small fish and shy so very difficult to really get a good look. He is very active and eating voraciously. Either way I would like to feed him the best possible diet to head off this disease before it gets more serious. <Agreed...Diet is just one element thought to contribute to this condition, however. Environmental conditions are also thought to be a factor> I currently feed the flake version of formula one and a product called Omega One Super Veggie (Because it was recommended over formula two to me) back and forth because I have 3 pairs of clown fish and 2 tangs. (should I feed them both at once instead?) I feed Nori every few days. <Omega One makes some fine flake foods...You could use either one of them. However, I am a big fan of frozen foods, myself. Nori is a nice supplemental food. Although largely planktivorous, the Regal Tang is also fond of Gracilaria macroalgae (which is one of my favorite tang foods!). Try a little of everything- quality and variety are important> I was wondering a couple of things. Are HUFA based vitamins the kind they need, I have a powdered form I sprinkle over mysis shrimp for my sea horses. Or another type or more than one, I haven't really ever used the different types of vitamins other than Vibrance II for the sea horses, so I am really not sure which type to pick. <I have used Ocean Rider Vibrance on lots of different fishes with great results! I also like to use Boyd VitaChem, and Selcon liquid on frozen foods...All of these are effective enhancers> I have read your some of the posted e-mails and articles suggesting home made food which sounds great! Is there a recipe for it somewhere and what kind of things could I put in home made food that would really be the most beneficial for tangs and reversing/staving off HLLE? <Bob has a great recipe in his "Conscientious Marine Aquarist" book, for what he calls his "Wonderful Mash"- good stuff- albeit a bit "pungent"! There are a number of other recipes out there...Do a little searching and you're bound to find something...> And could I make a good mixed food for clowns and tangs without suffering the tangs nutrition? <Well, variety is important...Remember, however, as mentioned above- that nutrition is just one aspect of the HLLE condition- environmental conditions need to be addressed> The other question I had was it said on one of the articles the use of carbon was a possible contributing factor to HLLE. I was just curious why that was? I have heard a lot mention to not use carbon in salt water tanks, but they never gave me any reason why. I have bio wheel filters and they have the removable inserts that contain carbon. <I don't really buy into that one, myself. I guess that the thinking is that carbon removes trace elements and other components of the water, which can cause some deficiencies over time. While I don't argue with the statement that carbon is capable of removing these substances, it is also removing dissolved organics, etc, and contributing to better water quality. The key is regular "replenishment" of trace elements via...water changes! If you employ regular small water changes, then the whole "carbon contributes to HLLE" argument is a bunch of fish poop, IMO. My advice to prevent and reverse HLLE: Feed quality foods, maintain excellent water conditions, and use grounding probes to help zap stray electrical voltage (another one of the theoretical "contributors" to HLLE). Monitor water chemistry carefully and regularly, and keep things stable...Change that water...I'm sure that these practices will help arrest, or possibly even prevent HLLE...> Thanks in advance. It is hard to get really solid advice out there when most of the time the person giving it to you wants to sell you things. <Yep- I can relate...The only thing I want to "sell" people is the adoption of a regular water change regimen! I know that the salt and RO/DI system manufacturers must love me!> Between your staff and Syngnathid.org, you guys have really made my reef/fish keeping experience much less troubled! Kelly Peters <Glad to hear that, Kelly! Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F>

HLLE Hey all, I just wanted to offer my observations on HLLE. I have a Hippo Tang that developed it about a year ago. I've recently been using Vita-Chem and Selcon heavily and have seen about a 50% reduction in the disease in about  8 weeks. For your readers out there, use it. It works. Thx   <Thank you for this input. Will post to share. Bob Fenner> Angelo

- Kole w/ HLLE? - Great site... Read through all the FAQ and think I may have a Kole with HLLE. His color is stressed (light) and breathing heavily. Anal fin has a half moon chunk missing with a block/brown substance surrounding it. <Oh, fabulous> This is starting to appear in his/her tail also. His actions have become very lethargic and doesn't even swim away when I put my face to the tank (a usual occurrence in the past). <I don't see how this could be diagnosed as HLLE. HLLE consists of small dimples on the anterior side of the fish with these marks following the lateral line down to the tail.> He was chosen when hair algae started to take over an entire piece of live rock. These symptoms started after the addition (2 weeks) of a psychedelic (Synchiropus splendidus). He was QT for 2 weeks (unfortunately I was to excited to last longer). Noticed it the most after the change of 100% Actinic 100% White changed to 50/50's (2). <Weird, sounds like it may have fin rot. I'd treat it in a quarantine tank with a general antibiotic for the fin issues and some copper sulfate if you suspect parasites in the gills.> Water conditions: 0 Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate 8.4 pH 1.022 SG 60 gal Protein skimmer, wet/dry, 60-70 lbs. LR 2 Blue Damsels, Cucumber, Read and Blue Hermits, Cleaner Shrimp, Snails <Could the damsels be beating this guy up?> I'm pretty sure it's diet but can't tell. He gets an all you can eat buffet on the rocks and I have used brine shrimp to check for feeding of his mates. <Brine shrimp is an incomplete food, feed plenty of algae and meaty seafood based frozen and dry foods.> I'm I missing an important part. I know about Spirulina and the such, but is there something better that is accessible in a small town. Internet orders are not out of the question. <Your LFS or *gasp* local Petco should have a wide variety of both frozen and dried foods. Pick up a few varieties with plenty of algae for your tang. Good luck! -Kevin> Peter

- Wild Pomacanthus paru with HLLE - Hi crew, a few questions for your collective wisdom, please: I have a 7" French angel and a 5" Atlantic blue tang residing in a 180gal fish only system  with several smaller tankmates, to include a 3" queen angel.  All were collected and brought back from the Florida Keys in November of '02; at the time, the French was about 6", the tang 2", the queen 2"; they all eat well, the tang the most; after about a month in the tank, the tang developed, within a couple of weeks, significant HLLE,  a good portion of the face and a couple of sizeable chunks along the lateral line, both sides; the French developed it at the same time, quickly, between the eyes and back around the head to the first stripe, the pitting being obvious but not deep; the queen remained and is fine; water parameters are ok, with ozone in use.  Having never had this problem except long ago with pacific angels, I read through the threads and changed the diet as  follows: DAILY:  Ocean Nutrition angel formula (frozen); formula two pellets; chopped shrimp alternately soaked in vita chem and Selcon; seaweed select green and brown; I  also began adding iodide; to date, all of the tangs lateral line erosion has cleared, as has about 50% of the face; the French looks moderately better, the areas of coverage being the same but the intensity considerably less. Other than this, all three are in great color, fat and happy. My concern is whether there could be something else at work here besides diet, especially considering how quickly it developed; any suggestions as to how I might improve this further might be appreciated. Thanks, Steve. <Well, I think the fact that this fish was wild-collected at size means it was used to a very particular diet which you are not replicating correctly in captivity. Some time in observation of their habits in the wild might give some more clues. I would try at the very least bringing some refugia to bear, producing more of this sponge and vegetable matter live for your fish. You could also cycle more live rock, with some always 'brewing' in a separate vat to be exchanged with rock from the tank when all the fauna has been munched by your angel. Cheers, J -- >

Nitrate problems...:/     I have a 80 gal bowfront system with under system sump wet dry with the biologic type ball (spiked plastic),  The setup is 2-3yrs old and I have only 3 inhabitants (fish only system) a Purple Tang, a Emperor angel and a clown trigger. <You will need a larger aquarium ASAP, I don't recommend housing large angels in anything less than a 6 foot aquarium> Generally all fish do fairly well although purple Tang with episodic hole in head type problems off and on over 2 yrs now, but otherwise eats well etc.<Could be that the nitrates are too high, You need to keep them under 20ppm. I also would add vitamins to his food> I feed lightly (I think) twice a day with prime reef, formula one and two, type products and a small piece of seaweed selects green marine algae in a clip.<sounds ok>     I cannot seem to get the nitrate levels down no matter how much water I change.  Often 20 to even 30% every to every other week.  I use a euro reef skimmer, good salt and R/O water and run a magnum outboard into the sump with a Boyd Chemipure medium bag.  I have been very tempted by the NatuReef denitrification and phosphate removal system, but have noted that you don't hold them in high regard.<agreed>  My setup is in my professional office and so the idea of a refugium etc are not likely that practical. <maybe one of the hang on the back ones?? Check Liveaquaria.com for more details.> Caulerpa (sp?) would likely get eaten by the fish and not sure would have room in the sump secondary to the submerged euro reef skimmer?  I also don't like turbo snails and the like,<why, very helpful creatures> in this fish only tank and have the usual micro algal problems     1)  Can I safely add live rock to this setup? <Definitely> Doesn't this in some way make for more work in maintaining?<No, actually it helps your tank a great deal>     2)  Can the biological strata balls add to the nitrates (think I read this somewhere)? <Can, many people take the bio-balls out and replace them with live rock> If so how do you clean them without loosing the denitrifying bacteria.<It is a slow process, you take small quantities out and replace them with liverock. Maybe a handful a week, etc>     3)  My major concern is the hole in the head as it relates to "generally poor water quality" and the micro algae problem<Yes, I also would be concerned. Could be that the nitrates are too high. As stated above I would keep the nitrates under 20 ppm, and would add vitamins to his food. These fish grow quite large so this small aquarium might also be the problem-(too much waste, not enough swimming room, etc)> Help!! Thanks in advance<your welcome, IanB> Mitch O'Hara

Can HLLE Be Reversed? Testing A Theory Scott- Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! <My pleasure- we all try to get back to our WWM readers as quickly as we can...> I just have one more question, how long should I wait to try a medication treatment if what I am doing now doesn't show any improvement with the head erosion? <Well, it's tough to be certain...There is a certain amount of controversy on this subject, with a fair number of hobbyists asserting that HLLE cannot be reversed...I, personally, have seen a number of cases where tangs with HLLE had the damage heal up considerably with time and positive environmental manipulation. I have not personally tried medication for this-its effectiveness is not conclusive... Now, I did mention that medication is thought by some to be a potential remedy for this condition (assuming it is a bacterial or protozoan malady- remember, that's just another theory), but I failed to mention that it is not always a great idea to subject an otherwise healthy fish to medication on a continuous basis...If you are inclined to experiment with medication, I would a) Do it in a hospital tank and b) give the fish a month or so of good environmental/nutritional enhancement before attempting this experiment. After a brief (we're talking a week or two) of treatment, I'd call it a day and return the fish to it's tank...Best not to cause the fish any additional stress...Especially if it is otherwise healthy! Hope this helps! Scott F>

Reversing HLLE Dear WWM Crew- <Scott F. your Crew Member tonight> I have a flame angel that has been in my tank for about 4 months now. About 2 months ago, it started to develop what looked like head erosion around his eyes and temple areas.  I checked my water and everything looked okay, but when I tested with a new test kit, it turned out that my nitrate was around 80, and my phosphate was around .5. <Wow- that's some serious nitrate! Lots of ways to lower nitrate, all of which can be found on the WWM site- do investigate them and take action accordingly> After discovering this, I immediately changed out 50% of the water, and did a few more water changes on a weekly basis and brought the nitrate down below 5 in a few weeks. <Excellent! Way to go!> After doing this, and with increased maintenance to maintain water quality, I hoped that the flame angels symptoms would go away.  Anyways, after a month, it seems as if the symptoms are getting worse, and I don't know why.  My tank is grounded, and I am feeding my tank Ocean Nutrition formulas, Nori, marine cuisine, HBH pellets, and Caulerpa, all coated in Vita Chem. Do you have any ideas what could be making this head erosion worse, and do you have any ideas that I could try to reverse it?  Thanks! <Well, the problem with HLLE is that no one is 100% certain what causes it to begin with...Poor water quality, stray voltage, improper nutrition (all of which you seem to have addressed) have been implicated in its occurrence. Another possibility is Hexamita, a protozoan. It sounds like the damage to the fish should have at least stopped, if not reversed, based on the actions that you have taken! My recommendations here would be to continue the good husbandry practices, feeding of high quality, vitamin-enriched foods, and careful observation. I'm of the opinion that it is an environmental and dietary-induced malady, and as such- can be arrested (if not reversed) by continuing what you're doing. You could also research the possible protozoan theory, and investigate treatment methods (in a separate aquarium, of course). However- I like what you're doing- give it more time, and I would not be surprised if the damage improves, or even disappears entirely in time. Hang in there! Scott F>

HLLE on an emperor and Sailfin :( Good day. I need your expertise in advising me what to do to save my fish. I have a 4.5 in Emperor Angel that is in the midst of changing its colouration. However there are some sores and white spots near his mouth and in between its eyes.<sounds like HLLE to me> What should I do to eradicate this ailment?<water changes, vitamin supplements, good quality food and time will only save this fish. HLLE is very hard to reverse, it can be done but the fish will never look the same again.>  The emperor is now in the quarantine tank.<ok> Secondly, I have a 2 in Sailfin tang that has some pits / black spot against its cream stripe near its head. Is it HLLE?<sounds like it to me> Will this recover on its own or can I add anything to speed up the recovery?<like I said before HLLE is hard to reverse. Sounds like water quality issues, would do some water changes and get the nitrates to under 20ppm and would put vitamins in their food (good food with algae, sponge material in it.>Thirdly, my 2 in majestic angel has some gray patches on both sides near its dorsal fin, Left side more than right side.<could be. have any pics?> What is it? Fungus? Lastly, I would like to ask the compatibility of an adult colouration blue-faced angel with my emperor angel.<would not purchase such a fish until water quality issues are dealt with> Should I get a larger or smaller specimen of the blue-faced angel if I absolutely must have one?<have seen people try this mix, it is very risky. Its also your money, but please don't purchase until your other fish are in good health> I own a 500 <hope this is 500gallons and not liters> l overflow tank. Rgds and hope to hear from you soon.<I am enclosing a link. Go to WetWebMedia and read about marine fish diseases, I believe that most of your problems are due to lack of water change, tangs and angelfish are very susceptible to HLLE and the nitrates in your tank should be under 40ppm at all times. Good Luck IANB http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm> Thanks for your dedication to the marine hobbyists. Edwin

Update on French angel w/ HLLE Hi to all of you!   I just wanted to send you another update on my French angel.  After you saw HLLE on him I decided that I would put him in the main tank in hopes of improvement.  I think that 5 weeks in a bare QT was just too much for him.  Anyways, he  has improved drastically  this last week!!  Here's a picture of him now! can't thank you enough for all your help!! Lynn
<Great news. Congrats. Bob Fenner>

Fighting The Good Fight! HLLE Thank you all so much for what you are doing to improve the lives of captive fishes and their owners.   <You're very welcome! So glad that you find the site useful! Scott F. at the keyboard tonight> I have a 75 gallon FO tank (all contents of which will be moved to a 250 gallon in 3 months or so to allow for growth) populated with a long Longnose butterfly, a Volitans lion and a juvenile Imperator Angel, all in the 3-4 inch range. <Glad the bigger tank is in the future...You'll need every inch of it!> I also have 55 lbs of live rock that has become base rock as I have had to treat the entire tank with copper for an outbreak of ich (yes I do have a quarantine, but the  active fish seemed EXTREMELY stressed when I put them in a smaller tank.. followed the 3 week rule, but the fish were not happy and I got Ich in the display tank anyway :-( ) <Bummer...I guess one of the important rules of quarantine is to utilize a tank of sufficient size for all of the fishes that you'll be quarantining...A lesson learned.. LOL> The Ich problem is solved, however, I have noticed slight swellings along the lateral line of the Imperator...no pitting, no erosion of flesh.. are these normal or indications of HLLE in the early stages? <Without seeing the fish, I'd be hesitant to say "no", but it may not be HLLE. Usually, HLLE begins as "pits" in the flesh. The swelling you're observing could be many different things...or nothing at all. My advice is to observe carefully, and make sure that the environment and food that you are providing are of the highest possible quality...Remember, HLLE is thought to be an environmental condition, and by maintaining an excellent environment, you've got half of the battle already won...> I feed the lion 3 silversides and ?  block of krill a day, the other two get a block of krill or mysis, a block of angel formula, and a small strip of Nori daily, all of which is greedily consumed by all fish (with little arguments between the two omnivores over the mysis). Is there something I am missing? Water parameters are fine, pH at 8.3, ammonia nitrite at 0.00 nitrate at 20 ppm (always bring it down to 10ppm with a monthly water change).. I am using a wet/dry filter and protein skimmer.. Am considering live rock and a DSB for the new tank along with a protein skimmer and refugium/sump. Would this help? <Absolutely...You'd be really pleasantly surprised at the nitrate processing capability of the DSB...and aggressive protein skimming will help, too! You're on the right track here, so go to it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

HLLE Hey, My flame angel has a bad case of HLLE and I was wondering the best way to treat it Right now I am using the Zo?formula in the fakes and adding green marine algae every other day. Nothing seems to be helping although the erosion hasn't gotten any worse. I beginning to do water changes (5%) or 2 gall every week from 47 gall  and am hopping this will work, only time will tell Thanks for your help and excuse the grammar :) <Hi, Don today. My friend, I am going to make the assumption that you are referring to HLLE (Head and Lateral Line Erosion) if I am wrong then please advise. Increasing vitamins and veggie intake is recommended. You might try and see if the fish will take Nori or soak food in Selcon before feeding. See here for more info: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hlle.htm. Good luck with your angel, Don>

Re: HLLE Reversal Hey WWM team, Thanks again for your help.   My recipe for success in reversing my Powder Brown Tang’s HLLE was: Conditions: Fish only, 30 gallon hex with porcupine puffer, spotted hawk, and above mentioned tang. Magnum hang off the back filter, under gravel filter, and Berlin Air Lift skimmer Actions: Replaced air stone <Good idea> Cleaned mechanical filter (ph dropped, so I added buffer for two days) <Okay> Started bolstering healthy bacteria with Cycle because so much organic material was rinsed off filter sleeve. <Good move> ? Cup of Kent carbon replaced, running for three days per month (I used to just leave it in, but no more) Kent Essential Elements and Coral Vite to replace trace minerals Added 1800mg (two large gel caps) of Omega 3 and 6 to 4 oz. Bottle of Boyd’s VitaChem for food additive, which I put on OSI Spirulina and freeze-dried krill (for my puffer) feeding twice a day Also added 1000mg garlic oil to VitaChem Lowered specific gravity from .023 to .022 because temperature was above 23C Results: Tang’s HLLE is looking so much better now and it’s only been 3 days, and I did catch it early.   He did, however, develop a slight case of blood streaking (petecchia?) in his tail that I noticed yesterday, but looks better today too, though not completely gone. <Excellent> Please let me know if you have any thoughts/criticism on the above treatments. <Good work, congratulations. Your apparent grasp of what the principal inputs/cause of HLLE (degraded environment, poor nutrition) are the same as mine. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Jonathan

HLLE It looks like I've got HLLE to combat on my powder brown tang, and I have two questions after reading the FAQs: 1. Can Kent's Coral-Vite be used as a food additive?  The directions only site usage directly to tank, but it has potassium iodide and calcium iodide among its ingredients.  I can soak it onto O.S.I. Spirulina, or Hikari Daphnia. <You can/could, but I encourage you to also look into, get Selcon> 2. Do you have any knowledge on the usage of MelaFix (Tea Tree) for HLLE.  I thought that it might make sense to use this for the skin regeneration while I attack the core of the issue with diet additives and additional natural sunlight. <Yes... and I don't think it's appropriate here> The OSI Spirulina has always been the morning feeding, and they get more of the same plus krill for my puffer at night.  I also have Boyd's VitaChem (which lists no iodide, but it does have the micro algae).  I will also be doing weekly water changes from now on, which I was slacking off to every 2-3 weeks.  Finally, I'm off to buy some Nori shortly. Thanks for all the wonderful info on your site. <Thank you. Do also look into checking your water quality, keeping your skimmer in efficient operation. Bob Fenner>

RE: HLLE How does one measure the skimmer's efficiency? <By the quantity and quality of material removed, by the change in ones water quality measures, by the apparent improvement in the vitality of your livestock> I have a small Berlin Airlift which produces about a quarter inch of waste per week in the cup. But even if the yuck doesn't make it into the cup, it seems to collect on the walls of the tube prior to going over the edge.   The pump is a Tetra Deep 24-2, which goes to a two levered bi-valve.  This provides for some under gravel bubbles as well as skimmer operation. <Time to upgrade... big time. THIS is the tool (lacking) that is largely responsible for the HLLE you're experiencing> For water quality, I keep an ammonia alert in the tank. <This device is inaccurate and unreliable> I thought for sure that the recent power outages during the Santa Ana winds were going to kill my bio filtration, but there was never any ammonia build up, and my ph always tests ok.  I used to let a lot of green algae grow on the rocks thinking that this would reduce my nitrates, but since my tang has taken up residence, he has seen fit to nibble it all away. Are nitrates removed with the organic waste by the skimmer? <To some degree (comma or no) yes. Bob Fenner>

Re: HLLE I guess I should have prefaced my inquiry with the tank size.  We're only talking about a 30 gallon hex tank with 3 filter devices...the mechanical filter hanging off the back (Hot Magnum), the under-gravel filter, and the protein skimmer.  I know it's not a major league skimmer, but with only 3 inhabitants (5" puffer, 3" tang and 2.5" hawk) I figured the combination of filtration methods would be adequate.  No? <Thanks for the further input, but no... the puffer and tang produce much more "gunk" than your present skimmer is removing... and it's malaffecting their health, particularly the more sensitive tang. I would upgrade the skimmer. Once you see the amount of material further removed, and the tang improve you'll be a believer. Bob Fenner>

Help! blotchy faced Koran Angelfish Hi, I am hoping you can give me some advice. I have a Koran Angelfish that looks like he is experiencing early male pattern baldness.  His color was solid all over when I bought him.  He picked up ich about 2 weeks after I brought him home, but freshwater baths and the addition of a scarlet cleaner shrimp did the trick.  A few weeks later after he was all cleared up the color on his face area started to look blotchy and turned white in a very evenly matched pattern on his face.  He was about 3 1/2 inches when I first bought him and now he's almost double that so he's starting to go through the change of life to adulthood coloration.  I have had him for over 6 months now.  Water is great, he's happy and eats a balanced diet.  He's the master of his own tank (no one is terrorizing him and stressing him out).  Any advice as to what this is and what I can do to even out his skin color again? Thanks for your expertise. Jen <Very often, well often enough, the blotchiness you mention in this species is indication of the beginning of HLLE: Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm I would look into augmenting this fish's diet with iodide and vitamins A and D... there are products sold pre-made for this in the pet-fish interest. Bob Fenner>

Re: hole in head Hello! I have had a hippo tang for several months.  He/she seems to have hole in head disease....  No one else appears to be affected at this time, but the hippo has several specks on its head.  I asked about it at the local pet store, and they recommended soaking the food in VitaChem.  They also mentioned adding a garlic additive to the food.  ???  Do you have any recommendations or information about this??? I would greatly appreciate your input on this idea!!! Thank you! <This condition is usually brought on by nutritional deficiencies.  Soaking food in vitamins should help, I would start by focusing on his diet.  Check out the link below for more information.  -Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm  >

Using Iodine for HLLE II Thanks, does iodine work real good? Just wondering how effective it was. <It is not a cure for HLLE. It can be helpful when used with improving overall water quality, diet, etc. Please read the article and FAQ files on www.WetWebMedia.com concerning HLLE. -Steven Pro>

Marine Hole in Head: What do I do? I have a Kole tang with what looks to be Marine Hole in head. What steps should I take to try and save him. Will a freshwater dip do any good and how do you suggest I prepare the freshwater? <A freshwater dip is unlikely to help this malady. IMO it would likely do more harm than good> I have read that the hole in the head is primarily a Tang and Angel disease. <Correct> Will my others catch it <Nope!> and is it present only when they are stressed? <Not contagious...> I didn't notice anything wrong with the Kole until the day after I put him in the tank. I am thinking it was because he was stressed?! <So this is a new addition to the tank? Well, the colors that a fish show when stressed can sometimes allow you to see HLLE that otherwise isn't noticed. I have had the same experience with a Sailfin tang. Please realize that...at a minimum the malady is present in this fish and it will...if not  at this moment, in the near future...need help. HLLE is a symptom of inappropriate environment and feeding. This is also not a problem that develops quickly.  Some authors have implicated electrical current in the tank as being a factor but this hypothesis has never been proven. Using a grounding probe in you tank will take away the possibility of this occurrence. Tangs and angels are affected most often because they feed heavily on macro algae that live in the ocean. You need to replicate the natural environment by either growing algae in your tank which is probably the best solution (Gracilaria is fabulous: IPSF is one distributor for this algae), or by feeding dried seaweed (not baked...dried) called Nori. Nori is sold in the Asian section of your local supermarket. Also consider adding a vitamin supplement (one that includes vitamin C) such as Selcon. Soak the food before feeding. As always...keep water quality optimized which means low organics, no ammonia, no nitrite and low levels (if any) of nitrate. Much more about this ailment at WetWebMedia.com. It can be cured but it tends to be slow to heal> Any suggestions will be carefully considered and followed. Thanks so much. <You got my brain droppings!> Love your site and have been reading it religiously since discovering it. <Thanks for the compliment! This is a service that the WWM crew enjoys providing. It's our pleasure to assist! David Dowless> Jwithay from NJ.

My angel fish is looking dull! Dear Bob <David Dowless standing in this afternoon> I have an Imperator angel I have had for about 5 years.   He is housed in a 100gal. aquarium. Filtered by 3 Eheim canister filters a 15 watt UV.  He has a few other tank mates such as a twin spot  wrasse, <Do you mean the Coris wrasse? This baby gets to be more than 21" long!> 6 fire fish, long nose hawk, Flame angel, Flag fin, 3 butterflies.  In, addition I also have a protein skimmer. <Is it producing a full cup of skimmate daily?> Water parameters are close to 0 ammonia <.1ppm NO2, N03 between20 to 60. <Ammonia and nitrite need to be zero all of the time.> Salinity 1.020, temp 77. This was not always the case, however , I thinned out the population some time ago.  I did this because I had difficulty keeping the water parameters within the range I proffered.  I had blue tangs and a Koran angel that both had bad HLLE.  The Imperator I believe was also developing HLLE so I became extra faithful doing water changes and adding broccoli and spinach to the diet.  This seemed to arrest any HLLE in the Imperator however his color has dulled.  I should mention that in every other way he is fine. <Poor water quality, poor diet, and overcrowding will do this..> I occasionally put carbon in my canister filter some say this contributes to HLLE also, I do not do anything to guard against stray voltage. <HLLE is an environmental disease: inappropriate diet and poor water quality due to overcrowding. Your tank needs to be thinned out even more. I don't know which ones to get rid of because I don't know their sizes or the specific species. Consider getting a copy of Scott Michael's Marine Fishes. It is an excellent pocket guide that would have helped you avoid overcrowding. You can get it online for less than $25>   My fishes diet is extremely varied including frozen as well as dry foods and fresh veggies. <Marine algae growing in the tank would also help> I would welcome any advice you may have. Thank you, Charles Rayburn <You're welcome, Charles. You can research even more on this and many other topics at WetWebMedia.com...David Dowless>

HLLE Hello crew, I am a 15 year old reef hobbyist that has a question. My cherub angel (C. argi) has developed HLLE around his eyes in the last few months. It isn't very bad, and hasn't spread to the lateral line, but it seems to have spread a little more around the eyes. The food I use is a frozen homemade blended mix of carnivore marine supreme, herbivore marine supreme, seaweed selects, brine shrimp, and Spirulina flakes with Zo?mixed in. <I would concentrate more on the herbivore foods and lose the carnivore and brine shrimp would be better replaced with mysis shrimp.> Is this not a nutritious enough diet? <It sounds ok. Note that HLLE is linked to both diet and overall water quality. Near reef tank conditions are also needed to keep in tip top shape.> I always thought it was adequate. Another thing is I don't feed THAT often, not every day at least, but there is plenty of liverock with microalgae to feed on. Could my angel be developing HLLE because I don't feed often enough? <It is possible, but I would also examine water quality, too. A pH at or above 8.2 is needed along with nitrates as close to zero as possible.> The angel has a nice shape to him, no visible skinniness. Thanks for any help! Be proud of that web site! ~Andy <Thank you very much Andy and good luck to you and your fish! -Steven Pro>                Re: HLLE Hello, thank you tremendously for the quick response! The tank has been set up for 5 years. I honestly don't think it's the water quality. I have 0 nitrate, 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia, and the pH usually ranges from 8.0 to 8.2 [yes a little low, but I doubt it would cause HLLE in itself, then again I'm not an expert =) ]. <It could be an indication of a build up of dissolved organics. You see nitrate in and of itself is not harmful to fish, but it is a good indicator that we use to deduce the level of dissolved organics. A low pH is similar. It may be time to increase the frequency or amount of your water changes or to make sure your skimmer is working well. You should strive to make it produce dark product daily.> All my corals thrive (xenia, GSP, mushrooms), as do the mobile invertebrates (emerald and hermit crabs, cleaner shrimp, green brittle star, various snails). The xenia pulses like crazy and is an absolute weed, (growing off the back wall). What do you know about the Hexamita/Octomita parasites, could they be the causative agent, and treated? <As far as I know, these are only for freshwater problems.> My dad is an electrical engineer, and seriously doubts that stray voltage or electricity could cause any damage. <He is not the only one. I don't buy that either.> What do you guys know about the stray voltage issue? <There is no definitive link that I know of.> Maybe it is the nutrition, I just do not know. I've heard something about lack of iodine in the diet? <Perhaps modify the diet as I mentioned previously and include some American Marine Selcon and Boyd's Vita-Chem instead of the Zo?> Anyways thank you for your help =). <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro>

Iodine and HLLE Hello, I have been reading your site and seen something about iodine and HLLE. Where would I be able to get this and how do you use this? Thanks! <Hi Mark! HLLE is a nutritional deficiency in fish. Iodine itself won't do anything to resolve or treat HLLE. For the FAQ you were reading, go to WetWebMedia.com scroll to the bottom of the page and type "HLLE, iodine" into the Google search. For the information you want on iodine, type it into the search engine and you will find gobs of information on iodine and it's usage. It is available in two forms from most marine fish stores. Hope this is what you had in mind! Craig>

Again on HLLD Dear Bob, <Steven Pro this morning.> As the values of my tank are now ok (you might remember my tribulations with achieving reasonable nitrites) <I really do not remember. We get 30 up to 60 emails daily and now have 5 individuals regularly answering emails with a few other's assistance at times.> I am entertaining the idea of putting a Koran Angel in it after it has matured for a few months with live rock, algae and critters and a couple of clowns. I have read Korans are prone to HLLD. <As are all Angelfish and Surgeonfish.> Briefly, how can I best avoid it <High quality, varied diet and optimum water quality. You can read much more about this affliction here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm> (I will be feeding krill, squid, minced lancefish, mussel, dried seaweed and flakes/pellets all enhanced with vitamins and I will do water changes weekly -10-15%- with nitrate resin treated tap water left to mature before I add the salt)? <I would use more herbivorous based foods and also something with sponge matter in it.> I also add iodine regularly, but I read something about iodide on your site. I am no chemist - I am a musicologist - so can you please explain what iodide is and how to get hold of it if I have to? <It should be available at any pet store. See here for additional information http://www.wetwebmedia.com/iodfaqs.htm> How often will I have to feed it? <Dose as per instructions> Also I read that salt quality is important and I found out that Kent Marine salt that I am using is not that great (nor is sera, my next possible alternative). That's your opinion on the subject? <I like and use Aquarium Systems products; Instant Ocean or Reef Crystals.> Thanks again, Massimo <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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