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FAQs on Fairy, Velvet Wrasses, Genus Cirrhilabrus Disease

Related Articles: Fairy Wrasses,

Related FAQs: Velvet Wrasses 1, Velvet Wrasses 2, Velvet Wrasses 3, Velvet Wrasse Identification, Velvet Wrasse Behavior, Velvet Wrasse Compatibility, Velvet Wrasse Selection, Velvet Wrasse Systems, Velvet Wrasse Feeding, Wrasses, Wrasse Selection, Wrasse Behavior, Wrasse Compatibility, Wrasse Feeding, Wrasse Diseases,

Scotts Fairy Wrasse 2nd try (MOVIE Link)     5/4/20
Hi Bob and Team;
Hope you are well and safe especially through this pandemic. I recently bought another Scotts Fairy Wrasse. I put it in my observation tank which has a Regal Blue Tang and couple other fish in there for observation before going into the Display.
<Like the tea cups as decor>
Anyway, when I put him in, the regal went straight at him, and bullied him a bit. I immediately put a divider in the tank and separated them.
The next morning, the Wrasse is out now, saw him eating when I fed also. But he looks “off” in terms of swimming. I’m worried he may have injured his spine but it’s not the typical spiraling that usually occurs, so I’m not sure. He could also just be acclimating to his new surroundings.
<Yeah; but I don't like the fish just hanging about in the upper corner>
Please see the video attached and let me know what you think, I know it’s hard to see but when the lights are on he seems to freak out a little so have keep the lights off for the time being.
Thanks Bob and Team.
<I'd expedite this fish through a pH adjusted freshwater bath into your main/display system. Like move it now. Bob Fenner>
Re: Scotts Fairy Wrasse 2nd try     5/4/20

Lol the teacups! They make good hiding places and “class” the place up a little.
<Heee! Hey; it's going on tea time here>
Bob I’m worried about moving him again so fast. I know it’s probably best to do so but my display has some boisterous fish that would probably leave him worse for wear. Especially my tusk, he is pretty gentle but I’ve seen him force his way through a few fish.
<Do you have any place else?>
I decided to do a water change and feed the tank some chopped wild salmon with Selcon and some omega 3 oil.
He ate it like crazy and was all over the tank again.
<A very good sign. DO make sure the top is completely covered. Cirrhilabrus are fabulous jumpers>
Then returned to his spot. This is less than 24hours in the tank. If things don’t turn around soon he’ll be moved.
<Ah good>
I spoke to the LFS that I bought him from, they had him since early Feb and said that when he first got into his tank, he did that same thing...hanging at the top corner.
<Okay; an unnatural behavior though. Would be (quickly) eaten in the wild>
Thanks Bob
<Welcome Anik. BobF>
Re: Scotts Fairy Wrasse 2nd try Update     5/4/20

So he made it through the night fine Bob! Was out and about like normal fairy wrasses this morning with the ambient sunlight for a close by window. He was in an out through the rocks and the teacups (lol).
I turned the lights on and he darted for a hiding spot and hasn’t come out yet. Which I see as proper behaviour for a nervous new fairy wrasse but I’ll defer to your better judgment and experience.
<Should be usually hiding by night, out most of the day>
I remain vigilant, he's not hanging at the top corner anymore! That’s gotta count for something.
Thanks Bob
<Cheers Anik. B>
Re: Scotts Fairy Wrasse 2nd try Update 2 (
MOVIE link)     5/5/20
Bob, just as I was going to give you update 2, I saw your email and wanted to say, he’s acting like a proper Fairy Wrasse!
Lights are on and he’s out and eating. He’s slowly getting his confidence, he’s chasing the smaller fairies which is great!
Attached a video. Sorry to the back and forth Bob, just want to document this with you and your wonderful site in case someone else goes through these trials with fairy wrasses.
Appreciate your help and advice every time!
<Welcome. BobF>

Wrasse Odd Behavior     1/19/20
I got a red velvet fairy wrasse and trying to figure out what is going on with it. There are two links I put in here. The first one shows the wrasse basically unable to swim and barrel rolling getting blown around in the current.
<Mmm; looks fine/natural to me. It's just drifting in the tank current>
At this point assumed it was a goner. The second one is about an hour later with the wrasse boyount and a little a spooked not really leaving its cave. Any ideas here. Totally at a loss.
<Again; this Cirrhilabrus seems healthy to me. It would, will act more determined in its swimming if/when you get others of the genus, species to interact with. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Flank Fairy Wrasse “Hovering”... MOV       2/10/19
Good Evening Bob and Team!
As always, thank you in advance for your wise words and advice. I write to you tonight to ask about a new fish I have in my 60Gallon QT.
<Go ahead; have viewed, reviewed your video>
I noticed when acclimating the fish was kind of “floating” but not like a regular fairy wrasse, it was what looked like early signs of a swim bladder issue. Anyways, he’s eating and moving around and is able to duck into pvc at the bottom of the tank, but is swimming weirdly. I have attached a video for you to see.
I’ve read it can also be a digestive system blockage, so I dosed some magnesium to induce passing of any blockage. I am contemplating bifuran treatment to tackle any bacterial infection that may be causing the swim bladder issues.
<No... this fish was/is highly likely been damaged in collection. A punctured gas bladder ( by needling or too quick surfacing) >
Anyways, I’d like your opinion on what it looks like and what you think I should do please!
<I'd contact who sold you this fish; ask for credit or replacement. No a high percentage chance it will correct, heal>
The video is not the best, but if you look in the acclimation box, that’s him fluttering around.
Thanks Team!
<Welcome, Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Flank Fairy Wrasse “Hovering”       2/10/19

Thank You Bob;
<Welcome Anik. I do want to state a bit of my background as it pertains here. I've been in the collection side of the marine trade for five plus decades off and on and used needling techniques; decompression protocols et al... There is always some risk in doing so to the fish livestock... poking internal organs, over pressurizing them, adding trauma...>
At some point I’ll have the guts to no longer QT these fairy wrasses but this is another instance where I’m glad I did because his DT tank mates would have definitely given him a hard time on top of these swim bladder issues.
<Too likely so>
I’ll speak to the LFS and see if I can get a credit. I hate when this happens to beautiful fish like this, and all fish really, especially because of collection...poor thing.
<"It" really is likely "no ones purposeful fault"... Mistakes happen>
Anyways, Thanks again Bob!.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Yellow Flank Fairy Wrasse “Hovering”       2/12/19

Thanks Bob! I’ll make sure to keep the Hikari stuff in mind when I buy next. Also I’m using Vitalis...
<The fish food... not the hair product I take it. Don't know much re this brand/make>
the fish seem to like it. Read that it is pretty good but will switch to Hikari.
Bob! Also, some hesitantly and cautioned good news! I’ve had the wrasse in magnesium chloride and BiFuran for two days now, with 100% W/C daily. He’s looking wayyyy better!
<Ahh great!>
Take a look at the video. Today I only dosed the BiFuran. He’s eating frozen, NLS pellets and flakes! He’s swimming around with more purpose and stays horizontal and on more control. He even spit some water out of the hospital bucket I have him in. Crazy! I will continue with the BiFuran treatment for the full seven days and report back. Let me know what you think about the video...Hope I’m not overly excited for nothing.
Thanks Bob!
<Thank you Anik. B>
Re: Yellow Flank Fairy Wrasse “Hovering”       2/12/19

Sorry, video attached.
<Oh yes! MUCH improved. BobF>

Dead Scott’s Fairy Wrasse       1/5/19
Good Evening Bob and Team;
I write to you in sadness tonight. I had a Scott’s Fairy in QT for the last three days and he was eating and swimming around happily.
Today I left for work and when I came home, I noticed that he was hiding in a pvc pipe and not interested in eating...Using live pods, I coxed him out, still didn’t eat but I did see that he had what looked like a scratch/scrap on his flank (pics attached). I have some egg crate in the QT (since removed) which I feel like he could have caught the sharp end of.
<This does look like a physical injury/trauma to me. VERY common in this genus, other wrasses... dash themselves about at time; often jump out>
Fearing the worst, I added some Melafix
<Mmm; not a fan>
and applied some topical antibiotics to the fish (seen it done, might be crazy but a local reefer has been doing it for years and recently showed a video of an Achilles tang he had done that for and it recovered well). Anyways, I think I may have spooked/stressed the fish too much, as he was breathing heavy and laying on his side...and he didn’t make it past 8 hours from when I saw the injury. I think I made it worse.
Anyways, now looking at it, I’m worried that this maybe something else; does the injury look like Uronema or just a physical injury with infection?
<The latter; maybe sans infection>
Any input would be helpful, if anything, for my closure.
Thank You
<Sorry for your loss. Over the years in the trade, I've developed my own cognitive system of "triage" on arrival with new fishes/livestock... OFTEN found it more expedient to skip quarantine w/ Cirrhilabrus et al. species; instead opting for brief dips (freshwater, pH adjusted, often w/o adjuncts like formalin)... LESS (incidental) mortality, damage to the stock and the risk of pathogen distribution much less than considered/feared probable. Bob Fenner>

Ammonia poisoning, after-care and prognosis     4/9/17
Hi crew! I recently had an unfortunate incident of spiking ammonia during a prophylactic QT of three wrasses. The wrasses included two fairy (Jordani, rhomboid) and a juvenile Meleagris leopard.
Background of QT process: The first week of QT was spent in a cycled tank with live rock for acclimation and training the leopard to accept prepared foods. After the leopard began readily accepting various foods, two doses
of Praziquantel were administered 6 days apart for suspected gill flukes.
Also, 10 days of MetroPlex/focus-bound food after observing white-stringy waste from the Jordani. Both treatments concluded without complications, however the Jordani was still scratching and showing symptoms of gill irritation so I decided to execute a tank transfer regime to address the possibility of crypto/ich in the gills.
<Good practices...>
The tank-transfer treatment was successful, by the second transfer all flashing and symptoms were gone. The fish tolerated the remainder of the treatment well, and all three continued to eat heartily after each of the
four transfers and appeared very healthy. The total time spent in QT was a little over 4 weeks.
The incident occurred the day after the last transfer. I had intended to observe the fish for a few more days to make sure no new symptoms would appear. But, the following day I noticed some clouding on the tail-fin of
the rhomboid. I used a liquid ammonia test and was horrified to see the ammonia had jumped up to 1ppm overnight!
Since all of the treatments were complete, I quickly decided the best course of action would be to move them to the display tank and out of the toxic water.
<This is what I'd have done as well>
Once in the display, I noticed the two fairy wrasses showed some physical symptoms of ammonia burns- tattered/cloudy fins and "scuffed" scales. I probably should have administered a Methylene blue blue bath for toxicity, but at the time I just wanted them in clean water as quickly as possible.
This was three days ago, the leopard wrasse never showed any physical or behavioral symptoms of distress, the rhomboid swam near the surface for the first night but has since resumed normal behavior and its fins and physical symptoms are almost completely healed. The jordani unfortunately does not look much better. Still has cloudy/tattered fins and "burns" on its sides.
<David Starr Jordan's wrasse is the weaker of the Cirrhilabrus here>
I can't capture the burns with my camera, but the scales are whitish in color and look kind of raised. He is eating well, and active.
<Ah, good>
He is favoring the left fin (with the most damage) and not using it much to swim. Is there anything I can/should do at this point to help him recover, besides feeding vitamin-enhanced foods?
<Nothing else that I would do; no>
Should I be concerned that a secondary infection might be at play?
<Mmm; more harm potentially to move, treat at this juncture. I'd leave in place>
I have multiple QT tanks available if it would be advisable to get him into a cycled hospital tank for observation and/or antibiotics. Catching him may be tricky, but he's a pig so a trap might work fairly quickly.
Thanks in advance, sorry for the long note but I wanted to provide as much background information as possible.
<Thank you. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ammonia poisoning, after-care and prognosis    4/9/17

Sorry, total QT was a little over 5 weeks...not 4. I misread the calendar.
Not that it's pertinent to the question at hand, but for archival purposes.
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: Ammonia poisoning, after-care and prognosis    4/9/17

Thank you, Bob. I'll stay the course and hope for the best. Enjoy your weekend!
<And you Nicole. B>

Re: Ammonia poisoning, after-care and prognosis. Cirrhilabrus f'        4/11/17
Quick update, he's looking much better. I think he's well on the mend.
Thanks for your help!
<Ahh; good. BobF>

Marine fish disease ID... No useful info.      2/16/16
Please help me ID this. Thanks
<... looks like physical damage. Where's the data re system set up, maintenance, tankmates, foods/feeding, water tests...
May as well throw darts.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Marine fish disease ID      2/16/16
Thanks for the fast reply.
280g tank
.020 salinity
<1.020; too low. See WWM Re>
I feed has a bunch of foods but mostly formula 2 and NLS pellets.
Tank is stocked with wrasse, tangs,
<Which species of these families? Do you have other members of this species here? You know they live in harems?>
angels, Anthias, etc. Some of the fish have been showing signs of these markings. My guess was a bacteria of fungal infection, but I'm not qualified by any means.
<I am. BobF>
Re: Marine fish disease ID      2/16/16
Well there's two exquisite different localities
<? Localities?>
(these are showing the symptoms), two melanarus wrasses, a checker board wrasse, Scotts wrasse (
this one is showing very faint symptoms), ruby headed wrasse, comet wrasse, cleaner wrasse, carpenters wrasse solar wrasse and a few more
<.... the cleaner, Labroides, may be brutalizing these others. B>

Something left field. Sudden Cirrhilabrus loss w/ water/quality change    1/14/14
I was just wondering if you may like to comment on an experience. I have been keeping marine fish for over 20 years and have never seen anything like this. Today I decided to bring a couple of my QT tanks back to normal salinity. In one of those I had a Scott's wrasse that had been doing really well and eating like a champ. To bring up the salinity all I do is slowly replace the hypo water in the tank with fresh salt water of the same temp. So I began my process and as the wrasse tank was up a bit high when I had to pour the water in (out of a 20l drum) I lost a little control and the water flowed very quickly into the tank nowhere near the fish but with a lot of splashing and I guess some noise. Well much to my surprise and absolute devastation the wrasse immediately began convulsing dropped to the bottom of the tank and slowly died over the next 5 minutes. No signs of physical injury no signs of infection. Just up and died. What did I do. I
could not imaging I scared it to death?
<Perhaps fright played a part... maybe the new water lacked dissolved oxygen? Had some other dire quality>
Help so I don't do this again.
<Have seen various fishes "die of fright" apparently... Moorish Idols/Zanclus come to mind as a key example.
Bob Fenner>

White lesion on wrasse's head   10/3/13
Dear WWM crew,
I have had this fish, Cirrhilabrus
<This genus, and quite a few other Labrids are "notorious jumpers">

 aurantidorsalis, for a year now, and, in
the last 3 days, it has developed a single, white lesion on its head.  It isn't "glancing" off the rock work, or exhibiting any signs that it is trying to dislodge whatever it is.  The lesion has grown in the last day from about 1mm to 2 mm, and now the edge around the white area appears swollen, and, the white spot is raised up above the rest of the tissue. 
It is eating as usual, and, is not exhibiting any unusual behavior.  Any idea what it is (picture linked to my Flickr account)?
Picture can be found here:
<This link did not "come up". Perhaps send as a sized attachment>
Thank you,
<.... I'd be checking, spiffing up water quality (changes in water, filter media, cleaning the skimmer)... Do you measure RedOx? And I'd supplement foods... soak w/ Vitality, Selcon... gone over on WWM... Otherwise, I would NOT "treat" w/ medicines here; neither in foods NOR poured into the DT...
neither would I move this Velvet Wrasse. Bob Fenner>
Re: White lesion on wrasse's head   10/3/13

<Hello again>
Here is an attached image.  Hopefully, it arrives, as a 1024x768 image.
<Ah yes>
  As far as "spiffing up" the water...I change 10% a week, I don't use any kind of filter media on this tank, just cleaned the skimmer 2 days ago when the pump seized up due to calcification (the skimmer itself gets cleaned weekly, regardless).
  I don't have any idea of the RedOx potential, as I have a very simple controller on the system that doesn't have a RedOx probe on it.   As far as my parameters go, I have 0 nitrate, 0.04 phosphate, 35 ppt salinity, 450 ppm calcium, and alkalinity is 10 dKH.
<Mmm, well; again; I wouldn't treat the system, nor move this fish... Very likely this spot will heal of its own accord... do you have females of the genus (don't have to be the species) in this tank? Would help... as would the presence of purposeful cleaner/s... E.g. Lysmata sp. shrimp. BobF>

Re: White lesion on wrasse's head   10/3/13
Mr. Fenner,
<Mr. M.>
No females of the genus in the tank.  I do have very large a Lysmata sp. "Skunk cleaner shrimp" which is about 2 years old in the tank.
<Ah good>
  I haven't seen him clean a fish in probably a year now, though.  I would add a few more, but haven't seen any large ones for sale in the local stores as of late.  Small shrimp will be devoured in this tank by both this very fish and a large "radiant wrasse," as I learned not too long ago when I added about $50 worth of peppermint shrimp to try and eradicate an Aiptasia outbreak a few months ago.  Both of the above fish pretty much swallowed the pepps whole.   So, is it your feeling that this is some kind of physical trauma, versus a parasite?
<Yes I do. Parasites are almost always numerous. B>

Re: Hair algae battle. fish gone haywire, Now starved, bullied Cirrhilabrus
Hello again Nate,
<Hiya Dave>
I decided I should update you because I have more questions about my solon fairy wrasse.  First of all, the melanurus wrasse is going to be moved tomorrow.
  He is clearly doing some bullying as he will sometimes give chase to pretty much anything in the tank that crosses his path.
<Not so good>
Very disappointing as almost all accounts I have read were of a relatively peaceful fish.  Anyway, I'm afraid the solon wrasse has gotten worse.  He appears malnourished and has taken to hiding most of the time.  I can still coax him out to eat, but tonight he has even been finicky about that. 
<What have you tried using for food? Have you tried garlic? How many times a day are you feeding? Better to feed small amounts more often throughout the day rather than say one gluttonous feast>
I noticed him performing the barrel rolls again the other day as he ate, and tonight he repeatedly went into a corner and rolled to his side before righting himself.
<After looking at that picture, I can't imagine it has all that much strength.>
When he does swim openly, he tends to hang around the circle and swim with his head down as if watching underneath him.  I also noticed some black lines that seemed to follow the lines of his scales.  I have attached a picture so hopefully you can see something I am not seeing.  I also attached a picture of him when I got him almost 6 months ago for reference. My best guess is malnutrition and stress from being bullied.  I want to do my best to save this fish.
<I wish you the best of luck my friend. He has clearly seen brighter/better days. Get the one out and fatten the other up. I sifted through the old messages and no mention of alkalinity. Keep a close eye on your ph and kH with the way your tank is looking. -NateG>
Thanks again,

Re: Hair algae battle. fish gone haywire
I have been feeding a mixture of foods. He gets Spectrum pellets, New Era Marine Pellets, Rod's Original and Pacific Plankton, and freeze dried Cyclop-eeze.  I soak the Rods in Selcon and VitaChem as well.
<All pretty good stuff. Make sure you are turning down/off the pumps when you feed. Both the Selcon and VitaChem taste pretty bad. Try a drop of VitaChem and 2 drops of garlic extract per cube. Pick up some Spirulina enriched brine and some PE Mysis. Put one cube of each and a few tablespoons of tank water into a very small Tupperware container. Add your drops. I use a similar mixture and it can stay in the fridge 4-5 days easy.>
He take care to make sure he eats everyday, but clearly more is needed.  I am not sure about my kH as my test kit is a Seachem which does meq/L. It usually measures 2.5-3 meq/L with ph being about 8.1.  <K cool> I'll get the bully removed, feed smaller and more frequently, and start a series of large water changes with some better source water.
<Got that RO unit working yet?> 
Hopefully I can report back in a few weeks
with better news. <Report back tomorrow after you get that jerk outta there haha> I do have one last question while I am writing.  If manage to get him healthy again, would it be safe and beneficial (more concerned about the latter) to add a female?
<Not sure about that>
I have seen a few sources saying fairy wrasses do better with a female or two.
<Yes if the tank is large enough and if the females are added first/simultaneously>
As I stated, this would be down the line when I am sure he is healthy. One thing at a time.
<Yes indeedy! Get yourself some good water and a clean up crew of sorts to get rid of that hair algae. I mean an army haha then remove enough of them afterwards so they don't starve/fight. -NateG>
Thanks again .
Re Cirrhilabrus abuse     5/25/13

Getting back to you a little late, but the report so far is good.  The bully is gone, and the other fish already seem far more at ease. 
<Excellent! Job well done!>
The fairy wrasse has come back out, but he is still quite week. Hopefully he will pull through.  I have at least 8 turbo snails at work along with an assortment of Nassarius, Nerite, Astrea, and Cerith snails at work. I'm hoping I can find a tuxedo urchin tomorrow.  I fixed the RO unit, so water quality is improving.
<Good good. That will make the battle much more strait forward. Keep those phosphates down and let those Turbos do their
I actually have noticed a complete lack of algae growing on the windows over the past week.  The GHA will likely take a
little more time, but things seem to be improving. . I still have a lot of work ahead of me.  I think the rocks are going to get another scrubbing on my next water change.
<Okiedoke. Good luck with that. Keep that Chaeto pruned and that skimmer clean. -NateG>
 Thanks again for all the help.

Cirrhilabrus hlth. 9/10/11
Hey Bob,
I hope that you have fully recovered from you beer and (sun)burn trip to the islands!
<Not quite... have fever blisters or such on my back... and the peel... not appealing!>
I have an odd duck one for you for which I hope you can help. I have two C. rubimarginatus (one male and female) that have been in QT for about a week. Both have been eating well. Yesterday I noticed that the female was having problems balancing while swimming - spinning in vertical circles, swimming upside down etc. She is still eating heartily, but navigation is obviously difficult. Could this be a swim bladder issue and would it be treatable?
<Something very wrong here... Akin to "colds" in humans, there are disparate causes for the behavior you describe... Most such cases are terminal... the vast majority are related to capture and "needling" damage
IME... usually indicated w/in days, weeks of collection>
The male is not showing similar issues and came from the same shipment / origin as the female.
As always, I would appreciate any insight you may have.
<This is about it sorry to state>
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cirrhilabrus, hlth. 9/11/11

Grunt! I was afraid of that being the case.
Thanks and best,
<Welcome! BobF>

Will Fairy wrasse grow back skin? 7/31/11
Hello Bob and Crew,
<Hi Jim>
I've recently purchased a young 2' female Blue Side Fairy wrasse from Moby Dick's
<Good name>
here in Michigan, and wondering about an apparent minor injury. When purchased she had some torn fins and what appears to be a tiny patch of skin missing from the upper 'lip'. I'm wondering if the skin on the lip will grow back as fins usually do?
<As you state; usually so>
Attached is my photo. Although the fish store had kept the fish at very low 1.018, I did acclimate to 1.020 SG, and have been keeping her in quarantine and raising the SG slowly about 1 point per day to get her back to normal seawater salinity.
I use no other meds in my quarantine, but do use carbon filter pad with power filter and keep the water free of ammonia with frequent water changes. I'm currently feeding several small feedings per day with Cyclopeeze, flake food and particularly Mysis, all of which she likes very well.
<Sounds good>
Tank parameters in QT currently are:
AM 0
PH 8
SG 1.023
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Wrasse with Chronic Bubble Eye 4/13/11
First, thank you, I've used your site with great results and appreciate the wealth of information.
<Ah good>
Most recently in diagnosing and treating a flame wrasse with a bubble over his left eye. He was difficult to catch and by the time I caught him the eye was hemorrhaging. I put him in a hospital tank and treated the tank with Epsom salts and two rounds of Furan 2. The wrasse lost the eye but otherwise appeared to make a very good recovery. Last week I placed him back in the display. Last night I noticed him swimming near the surface and decided to keep an eye on him. This morning I found him under a rock.
The remaining eye is starting to become distended. I have not been able to catch him yet. I'm therefore considering adding the Epsom salt to the display. Does this sound like GBD or some underlying bacterial issue?
<Mmm, what other fishes are present? What sort of gear here that you think might be involved?>
Any suggestions on how to proceed this time?
<If you have another system to move it to...>
Thanks for your help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
More Information 4/13/11
I forgot some information that may be useful.
The system is three years old. 120 gallons with a 30 gallon sump. It houses the remnants of my 58 gallon system that was up and running for four years. The fish list includes three flame wrasses. One female, one transitioning male, and the terminal male that has the issues. There are also a pair of clowns, a pair of Firefish, a yellow assessor, a four year old mandarin, two neon gobies, a pair of tank bred baby cardinals, and two young royal grammas. There are four Bubble Tip anemones, a maxima clam, a few torches and various Zoas.
<Ahh... I suspect a physical trauma with this one fish. It "swimming into" a rock, one of the Cnidarians>
The parameters are 78 degrees, Alk 9.3, ca 430, mg 1200. Nitrates 10, ammonia and nitrite 0.
The tank is lit with a 6 t-5's. There is a BK mini skimmer and the return is a Mag 5 pump. Circulation is created with three Vortech MP40's set on low-medium flow.
Thanks again.
<Not much to do here if you can't move this fish, other than hope it self-heals. Bob Fenner>
Re: Wrasse with Chronic Bubble Eye 4/13/11
Here's some information I forgot to provide.
The system is three years old. 120 gallons with a 30 gallon sump. It houses the remnants of my 58 gallon system that was up and running for four years. The fish list includes three flame wrasses. One female, one transitioning male, and the terminal male that has the issues. There are also a pair of clowns, a pair of Firefish, a yellow assessor, a four year old mandarin, two neon gobies, a pair of tank bred baby cardinals, and two young royal grammas. There are four Bubble Tip anemones, a maxima clam, a few torches and various Zoas.
<Got all this>
The parameters are 78 degrees, Alk 9.3, ca 430, mg 1200. Nitrates 10, ammonia and nitrite 0, sg 1.025.
The tank is lit with a 6 t-5's. There is a BK mini skimmer and the return is a Mag 5 pump. Circulation is created with three Vortech MP40's set on low-medium flow.
I wrangled the wrasse out of the tank and he is now back in the hospital tank.
<I would not do this>
I'm going to follow the same treatment regimen(Epsom and Furan 2) unless you have another suggestion.
<Won't do any good>
Thanks again.

Fairy Wrasse disease or injury? 3/28/11
Acquired a Condei Fairy Wrasse
<"A"? Cirrhilabrus are social animals>
on Friday 3/25. Shipped direct from liveAquaria.com.
<A worthy source in my estimation>
Have kept in dim light (no direct overhead light) quarantined in a 20g,
<Mmm, and I advocate NOT quarantining this and a few other genera of small/ish Labrids... >
with several fake coral structures and live sand. Normally don't QT with sand, but wanted to make Wrasse as comfortable as possible. Tank parameters: 0 ammonia, 78 degrees F., 1.23 specific gravity, 8.0 pH.
Eheim Liberty filter plus Nano powerhead for flow.
Fish has been very timid, but eats readily.
<A good sign/beh.>
Accepts Mysis shrimp. Feeding Mysis occasionally soaked in Selcon and alternatively with Vita-Chem. Plan to phase to once a week treatments once fish confirmed healthy.
No apparent issues with swim bladder. No observed erratic or panic behavior that would lead me to believe injury was likely.
Has a dense, white "growth" on top of mouth (not likely fungus- is not fuzzy). Looks like a big white head pimple (human).
<Very common for this genus to suffer physical injuries... this is almost certainly the case here>
About the size of the tip of a ball point pen. Did not notice upon arrival, but haven't been able to observe fully. Doesn't seem to be scratching and so far feeding is not impeded. Time will tell.
Tank is fully covered with plastic tank hood and Plexiglas.
Unable to photograph the spot. Fish does not cooperate with photographers!
<Heeeee! As usual>
No medications currently. Did not dip prior to QT. Fish was already breathing heavily upon arrival, did not improve with 15 min float plus 2 hr drip acclimation in a very dimly lit room. Fully stabilized after 12 hours. Could dip now, if advised.
Thoughts? I'm thinking some sort of larger parasite (not Ich) or just injury.
<Not likely>
<I'd dip enroute to moving (now) to permanent quarters>
Fish will eventually be added to 125 reef tank once good health is confirmed. Also hoping to acclimate to pellets and flake food.
Many thanks,
<As many welcomes. Bob Fenner>

McCosker's Wrasse resting upside-down 8/8/10
<Hi there>
Sorry to bother you, but I am out of ideas and need help.
<What we're here for>
I bought a McCosker's flasher wrasse 2 weeks ago. Initially it was swimming and eating at every feeding. One night, after it had been in the DT for a week, it was swimming at the surface and breathing rapidly, but eating. I could not get it into QT that night. The next day after work I was going to try again to catch it. It had jumped into the overflow and made the trip into my sump.
<Quite common behavior for this and some other Labrid genera>
When I found it, it was gasping at the surface.
I placed it into QT and started treatment with Paraguard and Erythromycin.
There were no external marks or growths. The only symptoms were rapid breathing and difficulty swimming. When it would stop swimming it tilted, head down.
Now a week into QT his breathing is improved, but it only rests on the bottom of the tank, belly-up. Up until yesterday it was still able to go after and eat a few pieces of food. Now when I ad food, it gets animated (as much as it can at this point) but doesn't go after food. I used a syringe to get the food close to its mouth, but it just dragged itself away from the syringe. I've continued treatment this whole time and even dosed PraziPro in a moment of desperation.
<Mmm... I doubt if the root cause of this spatial disorientation is a biological disease... Much more likely physical trauma from the jump, or prior... in the capture, decompression, shipping/handling of this fish from the wild>
Any advise <advice> would be greatly appreciated. It breaks my heart to see it suffer.
<Not anything anyone can "do" at this point, but provide good care and hope... I would contact your supplier and inquire whether other specimens of this or related species expressed similar behavior from the shipment.
Bob Fenner>
Re: McCosker's Wrasse resting upside-down 8/8/10
Hello Bob,
Thank you very much for your response, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I tried feeding it again today with no luck. At least now I know there are no other medications I should be using. I'll keep up with water changes and hope for the best.
Thank you again!
<Welcome. BobF>

Jordan's Cirrhilabrus swim bladder problem 4/8/10
Good afternoon Crew!
I wanted to write with a bit of an update. The male Flame Wrasse is still hanging on, and looking 'good' despite having been spinning for more than 5 days now.
I know it's only been 36 hours since I initially wrote, but if someone could take a look at my previous email, they may be able to offer some life saving advice for this poor fish!
<Mmm... this fish has damaged itself (jumping) or been damaged in collection (gas bladder...). Naught to do but wait/hope at this point. Bob Fenner>
Jordan's Cirrhilabrus swim bladder problem 4/8/10
Good morning Crew!
Since I have not heard a response yet, I fear my email might not be reaching you for some reason. So, I am trying from my work address.
One small update:
The wrasse is still alive as of this morning. I performed a 20% water change last evening to help with the nitrates.
Steven Reif
<Have seen/encountered such behavior in other Cirrhilabrus, other Labrids of similar biology... Patience. BobF>

Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis Swelling? Env. 2/5/10
I've searched Google and WWM to for an answer to this but have been unable to find any description of a similar condition. I recently acquired (approximately a week ago) a beautiful male Cirrhilabrus .
<Not a good idea to keep Velvet/Fairy wrasses as solos... the males lose their joojoo (colour, oomph) if w/o females present... are social animals/species>
He took readily to my 47 gallon mixed reef and after a brief bout of chasing with my Blackcap Basslet,
<And jumped, hit the top>
settled in marvelously. He shares the aquarium with a small percula clown, Chromis, and blue spotted Jawfish
<Misplaced here. Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/BluSptJawF.htm>
in addition to the Basslet. Parameters are: sg: 1.024, Ammonia: 0ppm Nitrite: 0ppm, Nitrate: 0ppm pH: 8.1. The day after I introduced him I began to notice a slight swelling on his head, directly centered between his eyes. I have
attached a two pictures I just took. This swelling has progressed from being difficult to see to the current condition (beginning to look especially nasty within the last 24 hours) over the course of 6 days. The wrasse doesn't seem particularly bothered by it but the alarming rate at which it has grown is causing me some distress. I would hate for it to be contagious
and/or fatal. Any ideas what it is, how I can treat it, and whether it is contagious? Thanks for your help and insight!
<Is resultant from a physical injury... being in too small confines, sans species-mates... No "medicine", but being moved to larger quarters with its own kind is recommended. Bob Fenner>

Lineatus Wrasse Issue 11/2/2009
First, I want to say thank you for providing the industry with such an excellent research catalog. I have used your site regularly for the last few years.
<Welcome Dustin>
I received a medium male lineatus wrasse 6 days ago from Quality Marine. I drip acclimated the wrasse to my water for 45min.
Water conditions remain stable with regular testing: temp 75.5, spec. grav. 1.024, pH 8.3, Alk 9dKh, Ca 440, Mg 1375.
It was placed into my 200gal temporary holding and observation bare bottom tank plumbed into my 1000gal system. The tank is isolated by UV and a 200 micron filter sock. There are 6" lengths of 1.25" PVC, a few large plastic logs and roots and a few decent sized chunks of live rock. Generally, fish go through smaller quarantine first but I was wary to put this specimen through that stress.
It has eaten every day since its arrival at least once. No bloating or thinning has occurred. I am feeding Tropic Marin Gamma Mysis and Spirulina brine.
While not wholly apparent on the first day or two, the wrasse is showing unusual swimming behavior. It appears to be an affected swim bladder. I have not seen symptoms of stress due to a lack of sandbed like trying to get under rocks or PVC. The only time it gets excited beyond gentle swimming through the system is during feeding.
It twirls and swims upside down. The thing is it still manages to take down a few Mysis every feeding and is showing no additional signs of damage.
It sinks quickly when it stops swimming and its tail seems to be the heavy end.
Could this be swim bladder damage from deepwater collection? If so is there anything I can do?
<Could be, and only provide good care, hope, and wait>
Could this be an internal parasite?
<Not likely>
Should I treat? Copper? Prosy?
<Prazi... No, I would not use any such medication/s>
Does it have a chance?
<Oh yes>
Thank you for your assistance,
Dustin Lofland
<Chances are good that if this fish has lived thus far and is feeding that it will recover in days, a few weeks. Bob Fenner>

Orangeback fairy wrasse... misplaced... hlth. 10/22/09
hey guys thanks for taking the time to read my email
<... grammar...>
first off I have a 40 gallon Hex tank. about to be changed out to a 45 gallon RR cube.
aqua-clear 50 filtration(not the best, I know) with Chemi-pure and poly filtration.
1 maxi-jet 600 and 1 Hydor Koralia 1 heads
130watt power compact(Corallife)
35lbs Fiji and Caribbean live rock.
asst polyps(star, button, and so on)
Hydnophora (purple and green)
1 pearly Jawfish
1 percula clown
1 green Chromis
<A social species>
1 Orangeback fairy wrasse
<This also... and one that lives in a larger "foot print" volume>
my question is about the wrasse, I bought him from a marine fish store which I always go to, when I first got him he was swimming normally eating and acting like a normal wrasse would. about 5 days ago he started swimming erratically (i.e.: upside down, at the top of the tank and basically just letting the power heads move him around the tank against his will. I have performed 4 formalin dips
<... for what reason? Too toxic>
over the last 4 days...per the owner of the store I purchased said wrasse at...he still has most of his coloration with the exception that he is starting to lose some of the orange. he was eating normally and is still eating some when I feed the tank(Mysis shrimp with Zoe additive) which I feed at least once daily but usually twice. he doesn't have any visible blemishes as in Ick or anything I can see. I recently began adding I small amount of Metronidazole to the food (the Jawfish has a bit of "Popeye" as well, but he stated that after I recently moved my tank from one house to another....stress related?....the wrasse was purchased after the tank was moved)...just wondering if there is anything else I can do...(my last wrasse: a solorensis, jumped out while I was in Europe).....bad surprise to come home to after a great trip.....but I'm rambling....anyways any help would be greatly appreciated thanks!!!!!!,
Matthew Rowland
<... See WWM re Cirrhilabrus sp. period and the use of Formalin.
Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/velvetwrdisfaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>

Injured Rhomboid Wrasse, QT Issues - 10/09/2009
Hi, thanks for helping me in the past, but unfortunately I have to bother you another time today.
<Not a problem, we're glad to help!>
Got a beautiful male Rhomboid wrasse yesterday. My QT tank had a crack and so I was unable to use it.
<Time to start looking for a replacement! ;)>
I'm sure you guys have heard this excuse before, but this time it's serious :( I decided to put him into a Betta box, attached to the display tank in the meantime. He was feeding very aggressively on frozen Mysis yesterday. The other fishes outside are all very healthy. Tank parameters are all ok too.
This morning I woke up to find a very badly wounded Rhomboid. To me, it does not look like any disease, but more of a physical injury. I have no idea what caused it, as the Betta box is shut tight, with nothing being able to enter or exit, unless they are small enough to squeeze through the holes of the box. He has a wound under his left pectoral fin, quite bloody too in fact.. I am in desperate need to save this poor guy. Is there anything I can do? Thanks for the help.
<Mmm, my guess is that the Betta box itself is the problem -- likely injured himself in a fit of panic/attempting to escape the confines. The injury should heal with time -- just keep water quality up and watch for behavioral changes.>
I know how you guys are always saying QT QT QT!
<Is one of the mantras around here>
This time, I really regretted. I am thinking it has nothing to do with disease....but I could be wrong.
<No, your assumption appears correct to me as well -- my guess is physical injury.>
Have attached a photo of him below. One was a very healthy and feeding rhomboid before the incident, and another one, the day after
<A truly beautiful specimen -- just keep the waters fresh and toxin free, and keep the food flowing. All should heal with time. Get that quarantine setup replaced! :) -JustinN>
Re: Injured Rhomboid Wrasse, QT Issues - 10/12/09

Hi Justin. I appreciate the help, but unfortunately the Rhomboid did not make it :(.
<I am sorry to hear this.>
2 hours after I sent this e-mail, I placed him in a pail with aeration, and did some light feedings. He did not respond to the food. I left the house to get some anti-bacterial medication, Furan, in case the need for it surfaced. When I came home, he was dead. Was devastated when this happened... One day he was doing fine, and the next, he was dead. I'm guessing it was my fault too..for picking him up on the day of shipment.
<Mmm, not necessarily>
I got him the minute he landed in my LFS, while he was still in his shipping bag. I am sure we all know this is not the right thing to do, and we should wait for a few weeks/days at the LFS, and then bring it home to QT.
<Yes, but is not always practical>
However, being a Rhomboid Fairy Wrasse, they do get snatched up within the 1st hour of shipment.
<This situation happens, but even further enforces the need for the QT period.>
This is a painful lesson for me. The injury looked quite bad, but the fish could have made a recovery. I guess he was just too weak/stressed from all that transferring, lack of feeding and suffering from the wound.
<Very likely -- though I highly doubt the death was fully influenced by the injury. The injury was likely just an outward expression of sorts of a rough ride.>
Thanks for the help anyway, and your advice will help me in future when this scenario replays itself.
<Certainly -- this is all part of the trials and tribulations of the hobby.>
Kai, the ex-owner of a beautiful rhomboid, whom died due to my lack of experience.
<Kai, Please don't be too hard on yourself -- we all lose livestock from time to time, and its many times due to circumstances that were well out of our hands. Don't get discouraged! -JustinN>

Sick Scotts fairy wrasse. 7/24/09
Hello there. I have found the information available through this site very informative. I was unable to find anything regarding this problem specifically and was hoping you could help. I set up a 30 gallon quarantine tank in anticipation of ordering 3 Scotts fairy wrasse about 2 1/2 months ago.
<I don't suggest, endorse quarantining Cirrhilabrus wrasses unless they look very bad on arrival>
I used some filtration media and rocks from my 120 gallon saltwater tank along with about 5 hermit crabs to cycle it. There is a aragonite substrate about 2 inches deep and about 15 pounds of live rock. My water parameters are 0 nitrates 0 ammonia specific gravity is 1.025 and my ph is 8.3.I keep the temperature about 78 degrees. I received my wrasse about 2 1/2 weeks ago and I noticed upon arrival that 2 of them had a small white discoloration (not a bump or fungus) along the dorsal fin line. I thought they may have been damaged in shipping.
<Easily happens>
They all tolerated the adjustment well and had hearty appetites. Last week one of the 2 which had a small fin discoloration started to develop a fungus on the area which seemed to be getting bigger. I began to treat the tank with Maroxy. Two days later one of the wrasse began to swim upside down and seemed to be breathing heavier. I started to add Maracyn
to the water along with Maroxy.
<... why?>
That did not seem to be a benefit so I did a 25% water change after 2 days and ran some carbon. I then left it alone for a couple of days. About 2 days later another wrasse started to swim in upside and now it can not control its swim pattern at all. The first ill fish is now lying on the bottom of the tank. The one fish with the white fungus is the only fish which now swims normally. I tried to use triple sulfa
<... For what reasons are you using these materia medica?>
for the past 2 days along with Maroxy but am not seeing improvement in the swimming pattern. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thank you.
>... Nothing you've listed gives (me) clues to what primary cause/s may be at root here... Perhaps these specimens were damaged in collection, holding, shipping... Oh, learn to use the space key twixt periods and new sentences.... Bob Fenner>
Re: sick Scott's fairy wrasse. 7/25/09

The reason I started to treat with an antibiotic is because everything I found on the internet
<Please; let's stop right t/here... You may have read many things on the Net... from unqualified sources. I assure you, having overseen the development of this site (WWM) for fifteen years, you did NOT read such nonsense from us>
indicated that these fish may be suffering from some type of swim bladder disorder.
<... for which none of the compounds you list are efficacious>
Have you noted this symptom in fairy wrasses previously and if yes, what type of disorder could be underlying?
<I have seen this sort of symptomology many times... much of which cause is undefined, but again, mostly can be ascribed to some aspect/s of collection and further processes of handling>
Do you think I should just leave it alone or is there something else I can do?
<Please read re the genus, family on WWM... again, I would not quarantine Cirrhilabrus...>
The company I ordered them from claimed that they had the wrasses 4 weeks prior to shipping them and that they had no problems. Thank you for your time and expertise.
<I am glad to share with you... Please start reading here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: sick Scott's fairy wrasse. 7/25/09

The reason I started to treat with an antibiotic is because everything I found on the internet
<Please; let's stop right t/here... You may have read many things on the Net... from unqualified sources. I assure you, having overseen the development of this site (WWM) for fifteen years, you did NOT read such nonsense from us>
indicated that these fish may be suffering from some type of swim bladder disorder.
<... for which none of the compounds you list are efficacious>
Have you noted this symptom in fairy wrasses previously and if yes, what type of disorder could be underlying?
<I have seen this sort of symptomology many times... much of which cause is undefined, but again, mostly can be ascribed to some aspect/s of collection and further processes of handling>
Do you think I should just leave it alone or is there something else I can do?
<Please read re the genus, family on WWM... again, I would not quarantine Cirrhilabrus...>
The company I ordered them from claimed that they had the wrasses 4 weeks prior to shipping them and that they had no problems. Thank you for your time and expertise.
<I am glad to share with you... Please start reading here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: sick Scott's fairy wrasse. High price of ignorance 7/26/09

I will reread the information provided as you suggested. I would just like to apologize if I implied that the information I found on swim bladder infections came from your site. Of course it did not. Is there any benefit to "fizzing" the swim bladder. Thank you.

Fairy Wrasse Issue, beh., hlth. 7/8/09
<Hello there>
I have a fairy wrasse that has developed swimming issues as shown in this video. Right now it's in QT and being treated with Prazi and Nitrofuracin Green.
<For what?>
It eats like a champ but has trouble swimming. Please tell me what you would recommend to get this wrasse back to good health. Thanks.
<Mmm, may have been damaged in collection... There is nothing to be gained by the above treatment. Only time can/will tell if this Cirrhilabrus improves. Bob Fenner>

Fairy Wrasse lump, and sys., beh. 12/10/08 Hello and thank you for the amazing wealth of advice that you offer entirely free to everyone. I have spent more hours than I care to think about browsing your site and I'm sure it has contributed to my enjoyment of my first 2 years of reef keeping by preventing disasters and related stress. <Ahh! Thank you for this. Deeply gratifying> In these 2 years I have not had any form of disease or infection (that I have noticed) so feel very inexperienced in this area. I have spent a number of hours searching your site for an answer but have been unable to locate one so, unfortunately, I need to ask my first question... My tank is a 180 litre display with a 40 litre sump. Display houses 1 fairy wrasse, 1 royal gramma, 1 blue devil damsel, a pair of tank bred Percs, a couple of red hermits, a variety of snails plus live rock and corals (mainly LPS with a couple of toadstools and some mushrooms lower down). Sump houses 4" sand bed and Chaeto macro algae plus Deltec mce-600 skimmer, heater and return pump. The system has been up and running for about 6 months with the wrasse being the last fish addition about 6 weeks ago. Last coral added was a Fungia a couple of weeks ago. SG 1.025-1.026, temp 25-26oC. Nitrate, nitrite, ammonia and phosphates are all nil. Ca 420, Alk 7 to 8 dKH (on the low end I know but seems stable here) ph between 8.0 and 8.3 (difficult to be precise on the kit - have asked for a meter for Xmas). I use RO water from my LFS for water changes. Two days ago I noticed my fairy wrasse had a lump on its face (please see photos). <I see them. They're excellent> Since introducing it to the tank it seems to react to it's own reflection on the inside of the glass and try to attack itself <Yes... a natural behavior...You should darken one end of the system (paper taped over the outside) to discount internal reflections> which has caused some damage to it's lips (a potential route in for bacterial infection? <Mmm, possibly> No sign of redness but difficult with a pink face!). The fish is normally very visible around the tank but started to only come out to feed. The lump doesn't seem to be getting any bigger (may have shrunk a little in the last 24 hrs) and the fish seems to be coming out a little more this evening. My LFS have advised that, as it does not appear red or weeping and the fish is eating ok, it is likely to be relatively benign and something that will go away by itself. I know patience is a virtue in this hobby but I figure this may be a time for an exception to the golden rule. <Mmm, rare...> I have managed to get a couple of photos that I attach in the hope that one of you be may able to share an opinion on what the problem is and whether or not it needs intervention. Please let me know if the files are too big and need cutting down. I have kept them reasonably large as I think I've got some decent pictures of the problem that may be of use to others should you wish to publish them on the site. Thanks again and I hope I haven't flaunted any of your very reasonable rules for asking a question or foolishly missed a disease photo library post. Chris <Thank you for writing, sharing your experience, accompanying graphics. A few things to state here. Cirrhilabrus spp. (fairy, velvet wrasses) are nervous, constantly moving animals that really not only need more space than here, or what most aquarists can afford them, but are also very social animals... Really requiring a mix of specimens of various sizes, a ratio of more, sometimes many more, females in a given system to "feel comfortable"... And, even given the large living volume/space and plenty of conspecifics, they still are "fabulous jumpers!"... A good idea to always have some sort of light/ing on outside their system, and definitely whatever conveyance to keep them in their tanks... that is not dangerous/damaging... My fave example is/was a huge tank up a multiple story building... in a neurologist's office years back... An "all plastic" (like screen door material) netting system arranged up the sides around the entire lip of the top of the system... such that when (not if) the Cirrhilabrus leapt out the top, they eventually fell back into the tank... some animals were still lost periodically... due to "sticking" on still-too-hot-but-cooling metal halide pennant fixtures strung above. So... the "bump" on the snout here will not likely go away... and this animal will continue its nervous behavior due to the size of this system, a dearth of mates to make a haremic shoal... and its inherent nature. IF you had the means to do so, moving it to larger quarters, adding more specimens of the same species (juveniles, females) would greatly decrease the "pacing" and jumping behavior... but not eliminate it. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Strange fish disease - fish very sick help needed ASAP! 4/22/08 Hey guys! You helped me once before with some questions about wrasses and now I have one that is sick. Alright, here goes...Tank in question is a 58 RR with mainly LPS corals. parameters are normal; calc - 450 ph - 8.2 nitrate - 5ppm ammonia - 0 nitrite - 0 temp - 77-78f. fish - red headed goby, green banded goby, yellow neon goby, 2 wheelers watchman goby, purple Firefish, yellow Gramma, Filamented wrasse ( male ) and the stars...a pair of Hawaiian flame wrasses. Now that you have a little background here's the deal, I added the wrasses last, the Filamented first then the h. flame pair. All was doing well. everyone was getting along great. No signs of any stress that I noticed - eating well no one off sulking no fighting/fin nipping. The male flame wrasse was the largest in the tank at 4+". I notice one day a few of the fish have ich! The tank had ich 6 months or so ago. The Filamented had been in approx a month when the flame wrasses were added. the ich showed up after 3 weeks or so in the DT. (Yes, I can see much more clearly about QTing new livestock now!! Anyway!) I first made sure I was feeding good adding vita-chem and dosing garlic elixir in the food ( Mysis and ocean nutrition flake and arctic pods). But alas it slowly was getting worse. So I broke down, bought a qt set up and tore the tank apart to catch all the fish. So all the fish were successfully moved into a 38 QT. The wheelers watchman and purple fire fish had never shown signs of ich but I wanted to the DT to remain without fish for at least 6-8 weeks so hopefully all the ich would die off. <Good> In Qt I decided to try hypo salinity. <Do know that I am not a fan... rarely produces desired results> From reading it seemed to be the least stressful on the fish and no chemicals. I thought I would do hypo for 6 weeks and SLOWLY bring them back up to normal salinity and monitor then for another 2 weeks. If the ich showed back up I would dose copper safe. It took a little over a week to get the tank down to 1.009. I thought going slowly would be easier on the fish. Well after a few days in hypo the big male flame wrasse developed a missing section out of his dorsal fin. Now there was a small hole in the dorsal fin in the dt tank and it seemed the tissue just went away out to the edge of the fin. Also there was a large section of his rt gill missing!! <I see this> It showed up overnight like a bite. It was the appropriate size and shape of the wheelers watchman. All I can figure is both fish wound up in the same pvc tube and something startled them and the watchman took a cheap shot. <Much more likely this damage occurred from a mechanical injury> The wrasse kept eating and swimming like nothing was wrong. Then the purple fire fish died!:( No signs of ich or any other problem I just came home from work and he was dead. No abrasions, or signs of any trauma or disease. A few days later the Filamented started acting strange - a little lethargic and not aggressively eating. And a few days later he also died!!:( Again no signs of trauma or disease. I forgot to mention right before the Filamented died I started treating the tank with Maracyn 2. The spot on the flame wrasse was not improving, in fact the gill spot and the dorsal fin were getting worse. He still acted fine but looked worse. The Maracyn 2 treatment seemed to have no affect on the wrasse's finnage or gill. I began wondering if the hypo-salinity was somehow keeping him from regenerating the tissue?? Well after 4 weeks in hypo I started bringing the salinity back up. Side note - the royal Gramma about 2 weeks in started swimming on his side a lot and stopped aggressively eating. No other physical signs. After about a week I had the tank up to 1.015 and the royal Gramma dies!:( I stopped raising the salinity for a couple days, thinking with fish being in poor health it may be too great a stress in them.) Which leads me to today. The flame wrasse male is laying on his side in one of the pvc tubes gasping for air. The rt gill has no "cover tissue" over it. The edges of the flesh have looked dark - now they look slightly white. Also there has been a narrow section of his lower tail fin that disappeared. Now the edge of the flesh there looks brown - like a scab does after a shower ( sorry I know that is kind of gross - but hey that's what it looks like!! lol!). Also he has not eaten for 2 days. Strange still the female flame wrasse who has looked great through this entire ordeal and something wrong with her mouth. The rt side of her lower lip is discolored and looks like the flesh is hanging or peeling away! <Physical damage, stress...> She also is not eating well today. The other fish in the tank ( red headed goby, wheelers watchman, green banded and yellow neon look great!). I am at a total loss. Nothing I have read sounds like what I have going on. I want to go get some more medication <No sense> tomorrow after work but what do I get? More maracyn2 and maybe dose double strength this time? Go for a fungal med? I just don't know... <Time, better conditions> I am sorry this is soooo long but I thought you would need the entire story to have the best chance at helping. I hat to lose fish. But especially when I have no idea why. This is the first time I have ever pulled all the fish out to QT, makes me wonder if it is worth it. The Flame wrasse are such beautiful fish - I hate to lose them too. I hope you can shed some light for me and the fish...I only wish I had contacted you sooner. The pics included show the wrasse healthy and then shortly after I first noticed the "bite" mark on the gill. Now that "bite" mark has eroded to completely expose that gill - also the damage on the tail fin can be noted - it has gotten a little worse but as bad as the gill tissue. Gill itself is very red and I cannot see anything on it. I could not get a current pic -- fish is just lying on his side in pvc :( <Move these fishes (back) to reef-like conditions.> Patrick Googer Chattanooga TN <Jordan's Cirrhilabrus is one of my faves... and very hard to catch... I do hope yours rally. Bob Fenner>

Strange problem with a Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura Hello again crew, <Richard> I have a problem with my Ruby Head Fairy Wrasse that I am hoping you can help me with. I have checked around the site and with my LFS and I am still unsure of what I am dealing with. First, my environment: I have a 90 gallon fish with invert system (just shrimp, feather duster worms, crabs, shrimp; no coral). Temp, salinity, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph, and Alk are all normal. I noticed about a week or two ago that my Ruby Head's upper "lip" looked swollen; almost as if it was folding up on itself. But he otherwise behaved normally until a few days ago when I found him lying on the bottom. When he spotted me, he swam up and begged for food as usual. When I fed him some Spectrum 1mm pellets, he sped to scoop them up and then either flicked his head and spit it out or dodged it at the last moment. <Both good clues> With close observation I also noticed very small white material that appeared to look like hair or cilia on the inside of his lip. At this point I was thinking mouth fungus, although I had only heard of this in freshwater fish. <These decomposers are everywhere...> This concerned me so I called my LFS. They thought it may be a bacterial infection as a result from a wound in the mouth from pecking at something and suggested using Melafix (ugh). <... no> Not much help there, but now I wonder if it is bacterial. The explanation they offered sounded reasonable; I just didn't like the "fix". <Is likely bacterial to some extent... but the cause...> He still aggressively chased down food. He just didn't hold it down, so I decided to try something smaller. I fed some crushed flakes and he did manage to eat them. I've since been feeding Spectrum that has been softened up by soaking either in garlic extract or Selcon. Fast forward to today. Now he is scratching his mouth directly on the live rock. No swiping his body on the rock ala Ick style; just his mouth. He is also holding open his left gill much wider than his right gill. Now I am thinking parasites perhaps? <Mmm, not likely> The gill opening (even though just one) also prompted me to test my water parameters again - still no problem there. I have two quarantine tanks I can move him to. I have been delaying the move in hopes that his condition would improve since he is still eating albeit with some special preparation. It is now clear to me that he should be moved to QT and treated, but the big question is - treated with what? Copper, antibiotics, Antifungals, eye of newt? <Wing of bat... none of the above> I really do appreciate the time and effort each of you put into the site. It is my first stop whenever looking for information about the hobby. Keep up the good work and thanks for reading this far! ~Rich <I do believe in serendipity, the simplest explanation generally "filling the bill"... The most likely scenario here is that this Wrasse jumped, bumped its mouth (very common with Cirrhilabrus)... be patient... will fix itself. Bob Fenner>

Follow up re: Fairy wrasse quarantine - not? 1/19/08 Hi Bob, <Tom> After our last email exchange, I took a real close look at this wrasse and could just make out a couple of white spots on a pectoral fin. Having gone through a Crypt treatment/fallow cycle about a year ago, I had to wait and see before I put him in the display. And I used the extra time to get him eating Spectrum pellets. <Good> The spots haven't changed in the past week. I managed to get a picture while holding him at the front of the QT in a net. The two white spots in the close up photo are right on the fin rays. Doesn't seem like a Crypt cyst to me, but what do you think? <Good photos, good specimen... the operant word today is obviously "good". These marks are not Crypt... notice how they span the soft spines of the pectoral fin? Very likely these are "stress marks" from the fin bending at some point... perhaps during a netting procedure. Will heal on its own> Thank you again for your Tom
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Fairy wrasse quarantine - not? 1/12/2008 Hi Crew, <Tom> I'm learning from some of the WWM FAQs that a Cirrhilabrus solorensis is best dipped and placed in the display, without quarantine, correct? <Often the case> Along with the usual observation procedure, do you have any guidance for the duration of the dip with this particular species? <A few minutes...> I have formalin available, would it be wise to add that to the FW dip for this fish? <Mmm, yes... but... I'd limit the bath to a minute or so if using... at "regular" strength> For two days I have had this fish in a 30G QT setup, with PVC that it hides in at night. I sure don't want to doom this fish in QT if it's likely to die of stress. At the same time, I don't want to risk infecting the display tank. <Believe me... I understand> BTW, the wrasse appears healthy, active, and has a good appetite for Mysis. Thanks, Tom <Good... a brief dip then, rather than an extended bath... to help assure external parasite removal. Bob Fenner>

Internal Parasite? Cirrhilabrus in quarantine for too long 12/7/07 Hello, <Tyler> I seem to be having a problem with a fairy wrasse that eats but doesn't want to put any weight on. <Not uncommon... live in shoals that feed continuously during daylight hours... need to be supplied with food frequently in captivity... best via large, healthy refugiums> He has been in my QT since August and I haven't felt comfortable enough to release him to my 135 gallon reef. <... I would. It will NOT gain weight under present circumstances> I assume that I'm dealing with an internal parasite? <Mmm, no, not necessarily or likely> I have tried Prazi-Pro, Metronidazole & recently have been adding Seachem's Focus to his food. Is there any other medication I could try? <Yes... but I would not> I would like for him to make the journey to my reef at some point. Thanks. <I would place this fish, now. Bob Fenner>
Re: Internal Parasite?... Cirrhilabrus reading... using WWM 12/7/07
Thanks for the response. How long should I generally quarantine fairy wrasses for? Thanks. <Please see WWM re the genus Health/Disease, and elsewhere on the site re Quarantine... the search tool, indices... RMF>

Eye on Lineatus Wrasse 11/23/07 Hi Crew, I appreciate all of your help over the years. I've been digging through the website but cannot find what I'm seeing with my male Lineatus Wrasse (kept just about a year). A few weeks back, he became lethargic with little appetite, had white stringy feces, would stay near the top of the tank, and then subsequent showed fin erosion and cloudy eyes. This all happened in matter of two days. No other fish showed ill effects. Based on reading and input from local fish stores, I treated for internal parasites with Jungle anti-parasite food per directions. This seemed to turn him around pretty quickly and was nearly back to normal in two weeks. His right eye was still a little cloudy. Today, I noticed the eye has become markedly white in the back half of his lens. I've attached a few pictures which I hope will be of help (I don't have a special lens for these situations). I was wondering if I should look into further treatment or if this will clear in time. The white seems entirely contained within the lens. You'll notice his fins are still eroded, but this is improving each day. Your help is greatly appreciated. Ian <Looks to be recovering from a physical trauma... likely a jump incident. I would prescribe just good care here. Bob Fenner>

Rhomboid injury... jumper 11/07/07 Hi Guys & Gals @ WWM, <Dustin> Thanks so much in advance for any help you can give me with my problem. I have searched the web and your web site, especially the FAQ's on wrasse diseases, with no luck finding a diagnosis to my fish's wound. <This is what this is... a very typical Cirrhilabrus "jump" trauma... the genus, and a few other Labrids, is notorious for taking a shot for the stars... in this case, cutting a chunk out of its topside...> This evening I came to watch the spectators in my aquarium for a little while before heading to bed and I found this white spot on the back of my prize rhomboid wrasse. I had only been in watched them a couple hours earlier with no signs of trauma. <Only takes a moment> I am no expert but it does not look bacterial nor parasitic, but almost like a gouge wound. <Agreed> My tank parameters are as follows: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5, temp 79.5 F, calcium 450, Alk 3.5 55 Gallon Reef Tank with the following inhabitants: 1 - 4.5" Magnificent Foxface (Siganus magnifica) <Needs more room than this> 1 - 3" Rhomboid wrasse (Cirrhilabrus rhomboidalis) 1 - 2" Potters Angel (Centropyge potteri) 2 - 1.5" Green Chromis (Chromis viridis) 2 Hitchhiker urchins 1 Medium/Large Rose Bubble Tip Anemone 2 Euphyllia sp. corals (Hammer, Frogspawn) 3 Acropora corals 1 Sarcophyton Leather <Will all need more room in time...> My best guess at what this injury may have stemmed from would be that of a poisonous Foxface spine or from darting around the tank and getting jabbed by one of the urchins. <Nah!> It looks like what I would expect fish flesh to look like. I will include 2 pictures following. One I took hours before I notice the wound and the second is the best shot I could get of the would. <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc266/fittiger/rhomboidwound1.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a> <a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc266/fittiger/rhomboidnowound.jpg" border="0" alt="Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket"></a> I'm a bit panicky at the moment so please excuse any courtesies that I may have forgotten. Thanks again for any help. Sincerely afraid of losing this wrasse, Dustin <No worries... this wound doesn't appear too severe... I would do nothing overt here... Just leave the fish in place... consider where you're going to put that much larger system... Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Cirrhilabrus dis. 10/23/07 Hi <Hey Joshua> I just bought a Scott's fairy wrasse. <One of my favorite fish, they are spectacular!> It's been three or four days and he has a white firm over his I any suggestions <I'm going to assume that you mean 'white film over his eye'. This could be bacterial or parasitic and is the reason why you should quarantine new fish. Please read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i4/quarantine/Quarantine.htm a well as the other links at the bottom of the article for treatment advise. Good luck!! -- Brian Griffin>

Wrasse pectoral fin injury, Cirrhilabrus hlth., sel. 8/29/07 Hello, <Hi there> I have a male Hawaiian fairy wrasse <Cirrhilabrus jordani I take it> which has been fine in my 72 gallon tank with plenty of live rock and a mixed crushed coral/aragonite sand substrate. The wrasse shares the tank with a Rabbitfish, False Percula, Chromis, and fridmani Pseudochromis. The other night I happened to be up around 2am and heard an odd sound in my tank. The sound was either a bumping sound (perhaps my acrylic lid tank covers) or mechanical(possibly a powerhead). Either way, I noticed the next morning that my Wrasse's pectoral fin seemed non-functional and the fish made efforts of swimming about but with some difficulty. The incident occurred when all the tank lights were out....also that same morning, I noticed a 4-inch branch of one of my Acroporas was broken off too. My guess is that the fish got spooked or something...maybe even gotten too close to the powerhead intake vents. So the fish eventually swimmed <swam> to the rear/bottom of the tank and with rapid breathing. As of now, I don't know if he's hiding or possibly consumed by the tanks crustaceans...all my tank lights are on and I don't see him. Is it possible for fish to heal from such a wound (even if it's a broken fin?). I don't see any tears or other signs of stress to the fin. <Possibly... Fairy/Velvet Wrasses are real "jumpers"...> Is it wise to attempt to capture and confine the fish to heal in a quarantine tank? Or would the stress of acquiring the fish be too much stress and cause potentially more harm? <I would leave this fish in place> Any thoughts? thank you! Walter <Better for this species to be kept in a haremic setting... one male and a few females... even better in a biotopic setting... None of its tankmates you list are found in its geographical range. Bob Fenner>

My Cirrhilabrus rubrimarginatus is shaking ... 8/19/06 Dear WWM Crew, <Diane> I have had, what I believe to be a Cirrhilabrus rubrimarginatus, for about 4 months now. It's between 4 and 5 inches long and really a beautiful fish. Up until lately, it seemed to be eating, swimming, etc. quite normally. I don't know how else to describe this but to say that for the past couple of weeks, I notice that the fish has begun to shake when it's swimming around. It seems to be getting worse every day. Like a person would shake with Parkinson's disease. Is it having problems breathing? <Do not believe so.> Background: My aquarium is 50 gal. It has a refugium w/Euro protein skimmer. Water parameters are all normal. Salinity is 1.023. Temp is usually between 77 and 81 degrees; occasionally has spiked higher though (86) when I had forgotten to turn the external fan on in the morning before leaving - and once when we had a six hour power failure during a heat wave - (not fun) ... :o( Other inhabitants are a yellow tang, blue tang, 2 clowns, 3 green Chromis, diamond goby, 6-line wrasse, and one Anthias. <This tank is much too small for these fish, especially the tangs and your subject wrasse.> An anemone, <Not a good idea having an anemone with non-anemone tolerant fish, and corals.> a few corals, snails, blue leg crabs and hermits. Recently I had a red slime problem and was told by my LFS that I might be feeding them too much. <More than likely from overcrowding than anything else.> He suggested that I only feed them every other day to eliminate the red slime. I did, and it worked, but I am concerned that I am not feeding them enough now. I feed them a variety of foods- i.e., frozen cubes, fish roe (from the sushi market), ground up shrimp, seaweed, Cyclop-eeze, plus a weekly regime of different additives for the reef - DT-live or Microvert, calcium, alkalinity, etc. I change out 10 gal. of water/week, plus have my LFS come out once/month to do a complete cleaning and make sure everything is running properly. Should I be concerned or is this normal behavior for this kind of fish? I did take a 15 sec. video of it tonight that I could email you if you want to take a look? <If the fish appears to be itching himself on the substrate while doing this, the fish is exhibiting hunting behavior, trying to uncover crustaceans to munch on. I've also observed this shuddering effect with other wrasses present as a "this is my territory" display. Is this fish eating well. The Pink Margin Wrasse is not one of the easier ones to acclimate. Keep an eye on him for signs of any parasitic type disease that may be developing. Do read our wrasse behavior FAQ's also, and related links above. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wrassebehfaqs1.htm> Thank you for your help. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely, Diane
Re: My Cirrhilabrus Rubrimarginatus is shaking ... 8/19/06
Thank you for the quick reply, James. <You're welcome.> I knew when I purchased the blue tang that he would eventually outgrow the tank. My justification was to trade him back to my LFS when he gets too big and start again with a little one. He was about the size of a quarter when I got him - and he's now about the size of the circumference of a standard coffee cup. The yellow tang is about the same size. Still, your point is well taken regarding the tank being too small. Regarding your questions about the wrasse - he is eating fine. No, he's not itching himself at all on the substrate that I've noticed. He lays behind the rocks a lot and sometimes on the bottom of the sand. At times, I've thought him dead because he's in sort of curved positions. Then I'll see his eyes move - or I put a net into the water to pick him up and he swims away without problem. When I open the top of the aquarium, <These fish are jumpers, so ensure the top of the tank is well covered.> he usually comes right out looking for food. He only seems to shudder when he's swimming around in the water. So far - no parasitic type diseases on any of the fish - but I'll keep watching... <Do you have a fine sand substrate the wrasse can take cover/sleep in?> Thank you for the link - I read a lot last night on your site - but I think I missed that one so will go back and read through it. You and your team provide such a wonderful service to the rest of us novices out here who so enjoy these beautiful creatures. I can't imagine how you find the time to do this. But I'm glad that you do! <Is a collective effort among the crew.> Thanks again. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Best regards, Diane
Re: My Cirrhilabrus Rubrimarginatus is shaking ...
Yes, I do. It's between 3-4 inches deep. I have seen (and heard) him jump before so I do keep it covered. It's not a canopy on top, but two sets of lights (power compact lighting) that go across with about an inch or so in between. I place a fan on top every day to keep the air circulating and the temperature down. Just enough space to allow the cool air from the fan in. Thanks again James - I'll keep reading and observing them - and considering a larger aquarium... <Sounds good, James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely,

Laboutei With Lesion 6/20/06 This is my fourth attempt at this email. I have removed the second part of the name of the fish, since it may trigger profanity filters. Here goes... Hello WWM crew, <Hello Eric> I hope you are well. <So far, so good.> I purchased a trio of Laboutei <Laboutei> from an online vendor about 13 days ago. I did not QT based on something I read which suggested these fish did not do well in QT. <Should be no problem, a relatively hardy fish.> One of the females died after about 3 days, presumably from the stresses of shipping and acclimation. The other 2 fish seemed to be doing fine. Both are out and about, picking at the LR, and eating frozen brine, krill, and Mysis, even some flake and pellet food. Anyway, about 6 days ago I noticed this nasty lesion on the female. It looks similar in size, shape and color to a human zit. I know, because I have pics, that there was no sign of this problem several days before. It does not seem to have grown in size since, and the fish is apparently unaffected based on its behavior. I have scoured the web, including your site, for a disease or parasite the fits this description, so I am thinking possibly physical damage of some sort, perhaps bitten by another fish. I have attached a photo of the fish for your perusal. Please, can you tell me what is wrong with this fish and what I should do for it, if anything? <Eric, looking at the photo I'm thinking Lymphocystis, not absolutely positive. Bob may have a more accurate ID of this. Being it will be nearly impossible to net the fish out for treatment, I suggest observing, see if the matter gets worse. Not really a good idea to treat the whole tank, but if you are lucky enough to net him out and place in QT, I would treat with Malachite Green.> Thanks in advance, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Eric. P.S. Here is a link to a thread I've started on another forum. More pictures posted there. Thread < http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=869266>

- Please help, sick wrasse! 6/15/06 - I have a 4 year-old Red Head Solon Fairy Wrasse that I fear is ill. It's left eye is bulging out and distorted. It still eats well, but is more shy and spends most of the day hiding among the live rock, but otherwise seems relatively ok. It's color is good and doesn't seem to be breathing abnormally. Is there some kind of disease that would cause this? <Sounds to me like Popeye, although I'd look carefully at this eye to make certain it doesn't look like it has an air bubble in there. If it is just swollen then it can heal and return to normal.> Is there some kind of treatment I can give it? <Not directly. You could add some Epsom salts - about one tablespoon per five gallons (which will effect your salinity) to help with the swelling. Not much else you could do beyond catching the fish and letting it recover in a quiet tank by itself.> It is housed in a 120 gal. with a percula clown, a pajama cardinal, and a 21 year-old pair maroon clown and large carpet anemone. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated as I have grown quite attached to the beautiful wrasse. <Mostly I can wish you luck and we can both hope for the best.> Sincerely, Josh C. Atlanta, GA <Cheers, J -- >

Laboutei wrasse with Popeye possibly injury Hi, I have a 5 inch male Laboutei who injured his eye from a lanceolatus fairy wrasse which is going to be sold by tomorrow. Now once I get rid of the trouble maker what is the best medication I can use to help him. I was thinking of Maracyn 2. Any suggestions crew? :) <Minocycline is very safe, though not likely to be effective here... I myself would just "hold-off" and wait/see if this self cures (likely). If not, in a few weeks I might try a level teaspoon of Epsom salt per ten gallons of system water. You can search, read re this procedure on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Quarantine Or Not? - 03/03/06 WWM Crew, <<Hello>> As always thanks for all the work you do on this site. It is a tremendous help to me and many other enthusiasts alike. <<Rewarding to hear.>> I have a question about a painted fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus solorensis?). <<yes>> I just purchased a 2" specimen along with a 2" raccoon butterfly (Chaetodon lunula). I drip acclimated them for an hour and a half then moved both of them to a bare bottom 20 gallon long qt tank. <<Mmm...>> Inside the tank I have several different PVC fittings for them to hide in. The butterfly is doing great and swimming around, but the wrasse keeps trying to fit under the pipes. <<Not unexpected. QT is very useful and necessary, but at times/under certain conditions can do more harm than good. I would give this fish a pH and temperature adjusted freshwater dip and place it in the display tank (you do have a suitable sand bed in the display, yes?>> I know that they like to bury themselves in the sand, but I'm worried about him banging into the bottom of the pipes. <<Indeed...and psychological damage as well.>> Do you know of anything I could put in the qt tank that he could get under that would be better for him? <<Not without compromising the QT tank. Best to move to the display as explained.>> Also if his behavior continues should I move him to the main tank after a few days? <<I would do it without delay.>> My main tank is a 95 gallons, 55 gallon sump, 110 pounds of live rock, 4" hippo tang, 7 blue green Chromis, two cleaner shrimp, and some Cerith and turbo snails. Thanks for any help you can provide, Cory <<Regards, EricR>>

Exquisite Wrasse - 2/15/2006 Hello, <Hi there> I recently purchased an exquisite wrasse who now resides in my Quarantine Tank. The wrasse is having a major problem swimming. He lies on his back most of the time but breathes normal. When I feed him, he scoots himself along to catch the food. What type of condition could he have and what medicines are available to treat this. All of my tank parameters are normal. I don't want to lose him. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks. <Having chased this species a number of times underwater I am surprised any arrive in live condition... this is one of the species I would do a pre-emptory dip/bath on and place in a large, established (hundreds of gallons, lots of live rock, reef) aquarium... and hope that it lives. Bob Fenner.

Fish swimming vertical 12-19-05 I've had a tri-colored fairy wrasse in my tank for 3 weeks now. It is swimming vertical instead of horizontal and it's struggling to swim at all. Some of his fins are slightly frayed which I am guessing is a secondary infection of fin rot. It isn't gasping and has no other signs of infection that I can see. I did notice shortly after I got the fish that he had white stringy feces, but thought this was due to stress. <Nope, it was actually internal parasites.> I am moving him to a quarantine tank, but am wondering if this is a sign of a bacterial, parasite, or some other infection and what is the best way to treat the fish? <Parasitic infection complicated by a possible secondary bacterial infection of the swim bladder.> Should I lower the salinity in my quarantine tank? <Can't hurt at this point.> Is it likely that my other fish will get sick as well? <It is possible that they will catch the internal parasites, but if their immune system is strong they should be able to fight it off. If they show any sign of white feces, pull them and treat them right away in a QT or begin treating them with medicated foods.> I would really appreciate any advice that you could give me and I love your website, you guys do a great job. <Happy Holidays, Travis> Thank you, Thresa Aguayo

Longfin Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus rubriventralis), choked on tako? 10/25/05 Howdy, <You as well> Love your site, good book too. <Welcome> I had purchased 3 Longfin Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus rubriventralis), mail order. I put them into the quarantine, one died the next day. <This genus... and Paracheilinus, Pseudocheilinus... others... often takes a beating in transit (they don't ship well at times)> He didn't look so hot from the get go and was refunded. Two weeks went by with no problems, they were eating everything, acting normally. Then today I fed them some squid, which is nothing new, I've done it before, I rotate through 6 or so different foods. The dominant wrasse came up ate a few pieces as usual, then pulled a slightly larger piece, swallowed it, spit it out, then started tearing at it like an alligator, rolling and twisting, then started darting around, having seizures, then began laying at the bottom, changing color like crazy, breathing heavy, then died about 30 minutes later. Water is great, I change it every other day, and there is nothing dangerous in the tank. This fish did have a strange bluish colored right eye, but no other signs of any problems ever. Any ideas? <Sounds like a bit "got stuck" in its buccal cavity or branchiostegals (gill arches)... trouble... I would only offer such tough food/s as small bits. Bob Fenner>

Fairy Wrasse with ich - alternate treatments 8/8/05 I have had a Cirrhilabrus rubriventralis wrasse in QT for 3 weeks now. He has had mild ich from the get go so I took the salinity down to 1.011 measured with a lab grade hydrometer. I thought we were over it but yesterday I looked in and he's a mass of white spots! I am tired of this and am going to treat the fish with copper, unless these fish are oversensitive. Is this a good idea? <Fairy wrasses are at least somewhat sensitive to copper IMO. I'm not a big fan of it as it is. If it were my fish, I'd do freshwater dips from a QT tank near daily for 5 days while adding garlic and B12 to the water> cheers, Wayne Oxborough. Norway <With kind regards, Anthony>

Lineatus Fairy Wrasse With Injured Jaw - 07/02/05 Hi, I have a beautiful lineatus fairy wrasse, appears to have a injured jaw, I had a Aust Scott's wrasse in the tank with him, he was the boss, he never attacked him but he startled him flaring up to him showing he is king and I suspected that he banged his jaw against the glass. It doesn't look broken but it is gapped a little and he can't close his mouth. Will he recover from this injury? He shows interest in food and takes some of the smaller pieces in his mouth, kind of shakes his head after taking a few pieces in. Is there anything I can do for him. I really don't want to lose him. He swims just find by the way, flaring his fins and swimming proud. Thanks, Scott. <<Well Scott, difficult to say what might be the problem here. Aside from immediate danger from internal injury (if present), the real problems are going to be whether this fish can still eat properly and in enough quantity to survive, and/or secondary infection from an open wound. My recommendation would be to remove the fish to a quarantine/hospital tank where you can watch it more closely, medicate IF it becomes necessary, and feed and recover (hopefully!) free from the stresses of the display tank. Regards, Eric R.>>

Bummed male flame wrasse Hello Bob, I'm sorry that you didn't have a chance to make it out to the Big Island last January. Would have been a hoot trying to dive though. All the usual shore diving spots were getting hammered and I mean HAMMERED with huge waves. <Wish you were out here with us right now... still can... am here for another few weeks. Some hashers, ChuckR et ux. of WWM, Pete... and I are here> On to the reason that I'm writing... While out in Hawaii I caught a male and female Flame wrasse and shipped them back here to San Diego. <Neat... Cirrhilabrus jordani... not easy to catch> Arrived fine and have been happier than any other flame I've had before. Haven't really had an unhappy flame yet... till now. With in the past few days I've noticed that the male is all bloated like he has eaten too much. Not real sociable and out displaying. Still swimming fine but the bloating is a little more each day and I think he's going to pop any day now. Really doesn't eat anymore, kind of pecks at some of the small bits that float by then goes back into hiding. Can't get the bugger out of my 125 gal reef setup to treat. All parameters for water quality are really groovy. My SPSs tell me when I've been less than diligent, well before the fish tell me. Problem seems to be an internal bacterial infection. The question being can I treat him in the reef system without damaging the setup (i.e. SPSs) since I can't get him out and with what do you suggest if I can. Hope to hear back while there might still be hope. Thanks, Paul Witt <Maybe (what I would do) try bolstering the fish's immune system through feeding, directly adding Selcon or equivalent to foods, the water... do whatever you can to spiff up water quality... Bob Fenner>

Cirrhilabrus <MikeD here> This may be an odd question to ask, but what is the normal color of a fairy wrasse's droppings? I had Cirrhilabrus wrasses of several kinds before, and have noticed some have white droppings. Of course other times, they seem normal, and are an olive green coloration. What causes them to have white droppings?<The normal explanation is that it depends upon the diet, just as with any other animal, with whatever goes in determining whatever comes out....sort of like corn in humans> While I'm quarantining this species of fish, if I had to treat for external parasites, how do I do so without killing them? Apparently, freshwater baths are out of the question for this fish.<My suggestion would be a formalin type medication if possible, and as with any fish of a delicate nature, using 1/2 the normal dosage is a wise precaution> Also while I'm at it, does any one know the life span of a fairy wrasse?<As with most marine fishes, that's a no. The hobby simply hasn't been going full steam long enough to make judgments on most species, with the best reliable information coming from public marine aquariums. wild specimens, of course, never live an "average" lifespan as the fish is removed from the food chain when it becomes lax or infirm> Philip

Disease? My main tank recently crashed due to velvet. Unfortunately I found your site while I was attempting to fix the problem rather than before the tank was set up. From the FAQ I see I'm not the only one. <No my friend> I'm two weeks into a 6-8 week fallow period for the main tank and have set up a quarantine tank. The one remaining fish (a blue and gold blenny, looks like a Midas with a blue belly) was moved to quarantine 2 weeks ago and is doing OK. Since I have the quarantine tank running I recently purchased another Percula clown and a flame wrasse. I followed the method described on wetwebmedia.com: acclimation, fresh water dip with Methylene Blue (2 min each), then into the QTank. Today, due to the reflection off the bottom of the tank, I noticed the wrasse has a dark patch under his gills; dark blue maybe black. My daughter mentioned she saw this when he was in the bag, but I missed it. It is eating, but somewhat lethargic. <Hmm. Maybe nothing.> I can't see into the gills to check for infection there. It's respiration is slightly elevated. A few times it was swimming beside the clown similar to the way a tang swims next to a cleaner shrimp. Do you have any other advice? I'm tired of losing fish. <If this specimen looks otherwise fine, I would run it through a pH adjusted freshwater dip and place it in your main/display system. Cirrhilabrus species wrasses do take a beating in quarantine (they're quite shy, and eat, need to eat a bunch of "little meals" during the day... I would dip/bathe and place this specimen. Bob Fenner>
Re: disease?
Thanks for the prompt reply. I hope that your family and friends are safe after the events of the past day. <<Thank you my friend. Sense that no one feels safe.>> <If this specimen looks otherwise fine, I would run it through a pH adjusted freshwater dip and place it in your main/display system. Cirrhilabrus species wrasses do take a beating in quarantine (they're quite shy, and eat, need to eat a bunch of "little meals" during the day... I would dip/bathe and place this specimen. Bob Fenner> Rather than letting the tank run without fish for 4 more weeks? I don't want to loose the flame wrasse, but I need to consider the long term health of the main tank. One fish now or many fish in the future. Based on the wetwebmedia.com info, the fallow tank seems to be rather important. <Oh, sorry for the confusion. Not able to follow so many conversations... do you have another system to move this fish to that has been up a while, has healthy live rock? Bob Fenner>

A quick disease question: Cirrhilabrus Robert, I want to thank you for answering my past emails. I have really appreciated it. <You're welcome.> I have a new Red Sea Regal. It seems to have problems controlling its body, spending almost all of the time head down. Then it spins madly out of control for a few minutes before settling down again. It is eating and otherwise looks fine. No visible wounds or spots. It is breathing heavily, but not in the extreme. <Yikes... likely either a residual effect of collection... or a brain-involved parasitic disorder... in either case, best to try to keep the animal fed, be patient, hope for self-cure> By the way, I recently sent you an email about fairy wrasses and whether the flame (jordani) wrasse could sustain higher temperatures over time. I have communicated with a lot of people and am getting the consensus that the jordani wrasse would survive but not thrive at temperatures over 82. <Yes> Although the Hawaiian waters are some warmer at the surface, I guess the jordani is deep water fish where the temperatures are cooler. <Hmm, yes... but the water does approach the upper seventies in the warmer months where they are found... Dive around Molokini, Maui and see, feel for yourself> Some speculated that it is a question of oxygen supply. <Good point... higher temp. means lower gas solubility, elevated metabolism...> Anyway, I do not know if it means anything, but I thought I would pass it along. <Thank you for this... will post on our www.WetWebMedia.com site under the Cirrhilabrus FAQs. Bob Fenner> Matt Davis, Seattle

Wrasse Disease Gentlemen: <Good, sir. Anthony Calfo in your service> I have a painted fairy wrasse amongst the 10 inhabitants of my 125G FOWLR tank. All water parameters are OK. Only recently have I noticed that the animal is not eating and is having difficulty closing his mouth. It seems that his breathing may be labored. I see nothing physically wrong as far as spots or markings. I have tried feeding both krill and silversides with no success <does the fish do any scratching/glancing... and are both gills pumping similarly or is one gill favored or closed?> Since this animal buries himself at night, I am wondering if there are any problems with my substrate. I say this because about 1 year ago, I had a Christmas wrasse that developed a discoloration on his lip that precluded him from eating as well. The Xmas wrasse also buried himself at night. <Hmmmmm... how long have you had the wrasse, and what are your exact water quality parameters?> I would appreciate your input and suggestions in an effort to save the painted wrasse. I would hate to lose him, as he is a beautiful specimen. <yes, a magnificent fish. Do you have a quarantine tank to use if necessary?> Thanks, Mitch <kindly, Anthony>

Pale patch on wrasse and sick polyps Hi WWM Crew, my wrasse's caudal peduncle seems to have faded on both sides and lost it's pink coloration normal of a Lubbock's fairy wrasse. The spot is not white (typical of a parasite infection), but clear, and looks like it has lost pigment. <symmetrical changes in color indeed usually are not pathogenic indications alone> There is also a place on the pale patch where it looks raised in places, almost like the skin has peeled up. <Hmmm... do look at pictures of fishes in the archives and beyond with "dropsy" like symptoms (bacterial)... a possibility here.> I've had the wrasse for about 6 months, and this condition has been here for about 3 weeks. I don't know if this helps, but ever since I have had the fish there has been a very small red cut or scar that has never fully healed. This scar is right next to the fading patch of skin. <Ahhh... indeed an easy entrance for bacteria... do look hard. Consider QT with broad spectrum antibiotics (Furan/Nitrofuran drugs possibly... no Maracyn please for this)> The only other fish, a cherub angel, is healthy as usual. All invertebrates are doing well (snails, GSP, mushrooms, shrimps, crabs, brittle stars), with the exception of a colony of button polyps that are succumbing to some unknown infection (They are also fading in patches and shriveling up one by one). Have you ever heard of a condition like this? <ironically may be bacterial as well... but certainly unrelated> Should I be worried? Any way to reverse it? <take out and scrub with a soft bristled brush like a toothbrush... rinse (discard water) and return to tank with stronger water flow. Feed weekly if they are larger polyps (Palythoa or Protopalythoa species). Perhaps a little iodine in the tank if you have been lax> Thanks for any help! <best regards, Anthony>

Scott's Fairy Wrasse with infection I have Scott's Fairy Wrasse with a huge swollen blister or growth on the bottom of his lip. His color has dulled and his top yellow fins are darkening. I have been reading about diseases and I think this is a bacteria. <I would agree that this is likely> Please let me know what you think and what kind of antibiotic could I treat it with. Thanks. <A Furazolidone and Nitrofurazone cocktail (like Jungle brand "Fungus Eliminator" at double strength in a bare bottomed QT tank). Medicate three times in 5 days minimum. Also feeding medicated food if the fish will take it would be nice. You may also do a topical swab of the lip (Q-tip carefully... avoid the eyes and gills) when moving the fish to the QT. Iodine or Mercurochrome will work fine (as with people). dilute slightly. Leave in QT for 2-4 weeks (4 preferably) Best regards, Anthony> Carmina Perez

Peppermint shrimp, Aiptasia & fairy wrasses 11/17/03 Dear Anthony: <cheers, Connie> Maybe I missed something here, but my understanding is that the shrimp eat the Aiptasia. <you are correct. L. wurdemanni does eat anemones... but it is not exclusive and often nips corals and clams just the same. Not exactly reef-safe in the long run> We are getting a substantial amount of Aiptasia, really too much to inject it all (and it seems to spread like crazy). <its better to control the nutrients/problem (overfeeding, messy feeding/weak water flow, etc) than treat the symptom (the Aiptasia)> So we got several shrimp. I can only find one now and he is larger than the others. <hard to say... they are somewhat secretive... perhaps others are still alive?> Question: Are my wrasses shrimp-eaters??? <if large enough... most are> They are all small but hungry fish. I'm afraid I'll ruin my live rock with continuous injections of white vinegar (out of the tank, then rock scrubbed, have been using tap water for this) Another question: My husband ordered two Laboutei Fairy Wrasses for me as a gift. On the first shipment, female survived acclimation fine, male died. Second shipment, another male died. Before I order another male, is there something over and above the ordinary acclimation for these fish. <they are simply just very sensitive fishes to ship. I rarely recommend mail ordering fishes... and I would almost never do so for wrasses>> Now that I have the female I would really like the male. I had two gorgeous rosy finned fairy wrasse and the handsome male jumped out of the tank about a month ago. They are almost impossible to get. Marine Center tells me that the Laboutei doesn't travel too well. <correct indeed> Please help me Anthony. Ciao Connie <my advice is to pay the extra for a local retailer to order and acclimate one for a week... well worth it rather than killing cheaper mail order ones <G>.> PS: Can't seem to get in touch with person doing arrangements for your visit to Palo Alto in February. Do you have a phone number for her? <I do... but I should check with her before sharing it. In the meantime... I recently learned that the tentative schedule is for a trip to Monterey Friday, Meeting Saturday, and then social pot-luck meal/gathering at Cheri's house on Sunday. I'm hoping she'll have something posted on the SeaBay website soon too. Do holler back at me if you don't hear something first :) kindly, Anthony>

Internal parasites or bacteria infection Hi Guys!! I have a major problem with my supermale lineatus wrasse. He is apparently not a happy camper. He has white feces or shall we call it stringy white poo hanging out of its anal area. <Either one> The tank is a 55 gallon with a UV, all water parameters are normal. When I first got him, he was always swimming around eating like a pig. Now he is hiding in his cave, has no interest in food, he always has his head out looking around except he hasn't swam or ate in 3 days. I am very concerned. Since my tank isn't a reef, I treated my tank with Maracyn and Metronidazole from SeaChem. I noticed his white stringy poop is getting longer, it looks like he is desperately trying to expel the waste from his anus. Am I taking the right approach? <One way, yes> The diet I was feeding him was that  Canadian Mysis shrimp. It has high protein at 60%. Couple times a week I add Selcon to it. He shares a home with a flame wrasse, and a laboutei who are all doing great. Do you have any other suggestions on how I can speed this process along or is he doomed since he isn't eating? <This fish was/is very likely internally parasitized from the wild... and in too small a system, and lacking "reef circumstances", definitely a shortcoming... Do you have another, larger, more "reefy" setting to move it to? I would add the Metronidazole to its food... This is posted on WWM... and treat only for a few days. Bob Fenner> 

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