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FAQs on Marine Environmental Disease: Psychological Issues

Related Articles: Environmental Disease, Establishing Nutrient CyclingMarine Water Quality, Maintenance,

Related FAQs: See also: Aggressive Behavior, Territoriality, & Environmental Disease 1, Marine Environmental Disease 2, Marine Env. Disease 3, Marine Env. Disease 4, Marine Env. Disease 5, Marine Env. Disease 6, Marine Env. Disease 7, Marine Env. Disease 8, Marine Env. Disease 9, Marine Env. Disease 10, Marine Env. Disease 11, Marine Env. Disease 12, Marine Env. Disease 13, & FAQs on Environmental Disease By Cause/Types: Environmental Deficiencies, Oxygen/Gas Problems, Poisoning, Mis-stocking: , Physiological Challenges (e.g. Metabolites, Allelopathy, Stinging), & Troubleshooting/Fixing

Too much life, and/or too incompatible life.

Helllllllllllllppppp!!!! (Under-maintained, Incompatible and Overstocked'¦Office Tank Syndrome) -- 03/09/09 Hello, <<Greetings>> Just want to say I am SO happy I've found this little community <<As are we>> ...after much misguidance and conflicting information from my local aquarium store (among ALL of their employees...seems to be no standard, agreed-upon methods for anything!), I have lost several fish in a 100 gal (could be 90 gal?) saltwater tank. <<Oh?>> The owner of my place of business decided to get a tank about a year ago cause it "looks cool" without having a CLUE as to what it takes to maintain. <<Saltwater 'office tanks' are notorious fish killers in my experience>> Being the manager, I'm always here and the boss man is not, which leaves me to fend for the fish or they die. <<Indeed'¦>> Needless to say I've been learning TONS from your site, <<Kudos to you for this effort>> and have discovered many errors (like needing a varied diet...I only fed silversides for 6 months oops!!). <<Mmm'¦>> Sorry for the novel here, but I have sort of been thrown into this (NO fish experience whatsoever!) and my compassion cannot let these little critters perish. <<No worries'¦ I am/we are here to assist>> SO--I know it is a predator tank. There's a lionfish, about 6 inches long head to tail; 1 porcupine puffer approx 4 inches long; <<Incompatible species'¦especially in a tank this small. Do peruse WWM re'¦you can start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/puffercompfaqs.htm>> a clown trigger approx 4 inches long; <<Yeeikes! Do be aware this very alpha fish will become a bruiser'¦and likely kill all else in the tank one day>> some type of eel (moray I know, haven't ID'd him yet) approx 12 inches, maybe between 10 & 12; <<Do try to find out what species this is as some of these get quite large. Not that it makes much difference here as think tank is woefully mis-stocked>> a maroon clownfish 3 inches long; a Heniochus butterfly approx 4 inches; and a Sharpnose puffer/Toby? (definitely Canthigaster, pretty sure it's the papua but possibly the solandri? <<Dunno'¦can you provide pics? And of the eel as well?>> very similar!) approximately 3 inches. <<And all shoehorned in to a 100 (or 90) gallon tank [sigh]>> LOTS of live rock so everyone pretty much has their favorite spot. <<And also likely precious little swimming room, I'll wager>> I've purchased a testing kit (ph, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates) and the only thing I'm having trouble with is high nitrates. <<That's because the tank is loaded with too many large (or will become large) and messy feeders>> Our local aquarium only suggested a 25% water change every month, which I now believe to be very insufficient. <<Agreed'¦ Bi-weekly at least'¦ Though you may even need to consider doing this every week>> I guess my main question (for now!) is, I've learned how to do my own water changes, (I still do buy premixed saltwater in 5 gal jugs from the fish store, as well as fresh top off for the sump) and with my nitrates at 80, even after a 25% water change, how often can I safely do a water change to get the nitrates down gradually without shocking and stressing all the fishies?? <<I'm afraid these fishes are 'already' stressed (refer to my comments re incompatibilities and overstocking). But for now, a onetime 50% water change and then weekly 25% changes. But be aware, this is NOT going to save this tank. For any chance here, you are going to have to remove some fish. My suggestion would be to find new homes/return to the LFS the Clown Trigger and Porcupine Puffer'¦and depending on the species of eel, this too may need to go>> One of the few people that seems to be giving helpful advice at the store said I should do a 25% change weekly, with that many fish. <<Yes'¦but as stated, this is only a stop-gap measure for diluting the Nitrates. The long-term health of these fishes is reliant upon removing incompatible species and reducing stocking density>> For regular maintenance that's fine, but again I don't know how much I can change and how often to get those nitrates lower ASAP. <<One, maybe two large water changes to start'¦while you're looking for other homes for some of these fishes>> Thanks for the help, <<Happy to assist>> I will be sending a pic of the Toby/puffer soon cuz I think his teeth are overgrown... <<Have a look here and among the associated links (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i1/puffer_dentistry/puffer2.htm). Regards, EricR>>

Sudden death...Please help Sudden death/Reading 8/7/08 I have been through several forums trying to figure out what just happened without any answers. I have a 20 gallon saltwater setup that has been running for about 3 months. Last week we had 2 live rocks, 3 feather dusters, a pink tip anemone, a turbo snail, a coral banded shrimp, a scooter dragonet, a three striped damsel, a yellow tailed blue damsel, a domino damsel, some button coral polyps, and two bladed plants that have been living in the tank for the past month. <Way too much and inappropriate livestock for a 20 gallon.> On the Friday of that week, I added a flame angel, an orange fan sponge, a lettuce Nudibranch, and a sally lightfoot crab. <...> Two days later, the tank was doing well and I added a 160 gph power head into the tank to add water current for the sponge (I already had a 100 gph bio-wheel filter that hung off the back of the tank). I added the powerhead at 1PM on Sunday. At 5PM, the tank was still doing well so I left for 3 hours. Upon my arrival, the angel and three damsels were not doing well. The angel was upright and stuck to the filter, and the 3 damsels were sitting on the floor on their sides. Within minutes, after turning off the powerhead, they were all dead. <Too much for a 20, too fast for a tank five times that size.> Could the excess current have killed the fish? <Not even close.> The powerhead did not stir up the sand, it only bothered the feather dusters which I fixed by directing the current into the wall of the aquarium. What happened? <Stated above.> I checked my water immediately after finding the sick fish. The dragonet was acting weird for a while but today (Wednesday) is looking normal again. <He WILL perish in this system in time.> Everything survived that was on the bottom of the tank, but none of the swimming livestock. Attached is a picture of the tank. Water temp - 81 degrees Ph - 8.2 Nitrite - 0 Salinity - 30 ppm Specific Gravity - 1.023 Alkalinity - 2.2 Thank you for your help! <Some reading required re stocking and water quality: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/small.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/watrqualmar.htm  Welcome, Scott V.>

Naso and Angel with cloudy eye's in a tanks with Yellow head Moray... Killing fishes with ignorance... hopefully w/o avarice Hello, my name is Matthew and I'm having a huge issue. I have had a 120gl for about Four month that I had transported form a pervious owner. I moved the water, sand, yellow head Moray, etc. <Whoa! Is this a Gymnothorax rueppelliae... of what size? Gets a meter long... a piscivore> For the first month there was just the Eel, then we added a Lion, Angel, Trigger, and Naso. <Uhh... this is a lot of life... and too much to add in a short while> We had the Naso, Lion, and Eel for about a month and then added the Trigger and Angel from a friend that's tank had broke. Everything was fine until these two showed up and sense then everything has been a issue. <Won't be fine...> Something happened two days after the trigger and angel were put in, the Lion loss color and got a slimy coat on him, the angel died, the Naso got the worst case of foggy eyes I have ever seen and I had a Harlequin Tusk lost his slime coat and almost died as well. <... too much, too soon... Too much wealth and not enough education> I had taken the Tusk and Tang to my Local fish store were there the had brought them back to life. <Env.> surprisingly through this hole ordeal the Eel never had a problem. We thought is was the filter <...> so I replaced the Bio wheel and Canister with a 120 sump with built in refugium, put a SuperSkimmer Protein Skimmer. I had let the tank be for a month with just the eel, and just this weekend brought the Tusk and Naso home. <Return them> Well the Tusk has been eaten by the eel, <...> the Naso has cloudy eyes and the angel gets white raised spot during the night and leave by day. I have changed everything on the tank what can be causing this to keep happening? Please any Help would be great. <... Please... read on WWM re each of the species you list... their Systems needs, Compatibility... You have too much of an untenable mix here... Won't work... You killed the lost animals by crowding them together... Bob Fenner>

Re: Naso and Angel with cloudy eye's in a tanks with Yellow head Moray... still not reading   11/13/07 Thanks for the fast reply, Yes I will admit I did do a little to much to <too> fast. The Naso eyes are getting worse again as we speak. The Passer Angel, Moray, and Naso are the only ones in there now and all seem to be getting along fine. <Matt... you're not understanding... there is too much incompatible life for the volume you have here> The eel and Naso even share the same cave. Should I take everybody out and leave it sit for 6 weeks or can I leave the eel and if so will this happen again. <...> After reading the Bio on these fish, the angel is 6in, the Naso 7inch and Eel 3ft witch <which>  if I'm reading write <right> there shouldn't be a big issue. Let me know what you think. Matthew <I think you should read as directed in your first missal, my response. BobF>

Re: Naso and Angel with cloudy eye's in a tanks with Yellow head Moray   11/14/07 WOW, you even spell check for me as well. I know you quite respected in your field and for that reason I reached out to you for help. Just for FYI I am not made of money and like most people in this hobby learn by trail <Yippee aye yo ki yay!> and error. <Mmm, just trying to wake you up, help you skip a bunch of the latter... Do you understand this?> Just a little nicer on the replies, I might help others not a knowledgeable as yourself not feel like idiots. Thanks for your time Matthew. <IF you had read you'd know that the 120 is barely adequate for the Muraenid... Please... study, THEN choose knowledgably what you think you can keep. RMF>

Re: Naso and Angel with cloudy eye's in a tanks with Yellow head Moray   11/14/07 Yes I understand, Just the same I have made a choice to give the Eel to a person that does tanks for a company called Color Wheel. He will have a huge tank with those of his kind. I have done some reading and this animal belongs either in a huge tank, by his self, or most of all in the ocean. And being that he can never go back to the ocean, I will give him away to someone that will give him the room he needs. <Ahh, very good> I'm sticking to clown and Tangs. If I came across harsh I apologize, I'm just frustrated. Thanks Matthew <Welcome. BobF>

Judgment question on changing pH... Umm, no... more basal questions re human motivation, thinking/learning processes. Mis-stocked system, iatrogenic errors/problems   4/16/08 Hello WWM Crew, <Jason> I have been extensively reading here at WWM and learned a lot, so thanks for all of the great work. I have a 100g marine FOWLR tank with three triggerfish (Undulated, Niger, Pink Tail) and one moray eel (Chain). <... troubles> I realize the conflict issues with having other fish with the Undulated, but I've decided to take the risk. The tank has been up and running for about 6 weeks now with no issues, aside from an arrow crab that ended up breakfast for the triggers (I figured it was worth a try) and a snowflake eel that escaped (the side of the lid with the heater and pump now has a custom cardboard cutout taped down). <... I do hope not to be reincarnated...> After all that reading I've come to the conclusion that sometimes trying to adjust the pH is more trouble than it's worth. <Okay...> My current pH is 7.7 - 7.8 according to the LFS and my API 5 in 1 test strips. <Not accurate> All other numbers are good, KH is just under 300 (I have a piece of coral that seems to keep the Ca levels up). Alk is around 10. From what I can find, the triggers pH range starts at around 8.1 - 8.2. Should I even bother trying to raise the pH? <Mmm, a larger issue than this... Should you attempt to keep them period? Depending on what gear you're employing, there is much more than pH that will need to be addressed in such a small volume... Re the pH by itself, yes to reading, understanding the relationship twixt it as a static reading and alkalinity/alkaline reserve as a driver, sustainer of pH... though it's not really the issue here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm and the linked files above> That leads me to my second (and less important) question. Sometimes the triggers (mostly the Undulated) swim around hitting the live rock. <Very bad behavior> I'm pretty sure it's not a disease as they are showing no symptoms. I think they're just being aggressive and checking which rocks they can move at their current size. I was wondering if it's because of stress or just typical trigger behavior? <Is symptomatic of real trouble here. Behavioral and physiological. You seriously need to examine your own psychological profile as an aquarist, perhaps more here... What is it you intend by jamming all this incompatible life together in such a small, unsuitable volume? Really. Do you understand what I'm stating here? Know yourself, then go out an act in the world... What you currently have is untenable. Won't work... Re-read on WWM re the Systems, Compatibility of what you have crammed together here... Trade, give most of it away. Formulate a work-able stocking plan. Bob Fenner> Thanks for the insight, Jason

Re: Judgment questions on changing pH 4/16/08 Hello WWM Crew, <Hello> First of all, thank you for responding to my e-mail. I'm writing in again because I don't feel like my question was answered. The more info I provided the more the response drifted away from my main question so I'll be direct. My Local Fish Store (not sure how you determined they're wrong) says my pH is consistent at 7.7 - 7.8 and the fish in my take need a minimum pH of 8.1 - 8.2. I understand the relationship between pH and Alk, as I said I've done much research. Question: should I attempt to raise the pH to within the range of the fish? <Yes, these are not freshwater fish which will tolerate a certain amount of variance in pH. Marine fish do not have this ability, they are adapted to live in the stable pH environment of the ocean. This pH change does still need to be done slowly though.> Now that I've directly asked my main question and hopefully receive a direct answer, I'm going to take a second to respond to a few of your points. I have had a successful trigger tank with a Niger, Picasso and one Arrow Crab so I did have reason to believe the crab could work. <Evidence would seem to indicate otherwise.> I knew eels are escape artists so I did put effort into keeping the snowflake in the tank but he was more resourceful than I expected. There was no intent to harm the animals. I'm not sure why my 'psychological profile' was brought up but I believe the WWM staff are professionals so I'm not going to take that digression personally. <Well, you are asking these creatures to go against their nature. Its thousands of years of stimulus/response here, and not likely to change.> I put the Pink Tail in the tank first, than the Niger, followed by the Undulated so by order of aggressiveness and size and the time they've had to settle in it should minimize the conflict as much as possible. If any of the triggers start to get beat up I will definitely be trading them in to ease the stress in the tank, but that isn't happening now. <Will happen, I am guessing the nigger first, the pink tail, the Undulated should be the last.> I am anticipating eventually having to give up either the Niger or Pink Tail as they grow. <Both, but by the time you realize it is time to get rid of them the damage will be done, behavioral and physical damage will already have occurred.> The Pink Tail and the Niger get along fine. <Not really, just their fear of the Undulated is probably distracting them.> All of the Triggers get along with the Eel. The Undulated stays by himself most of the time. <Big dog doesn't hide behind other fish.> I also have much live rock with many caves and hiding spaces for them and I keep them well fed. <At some point the weakest of the triggers will no longer be allowed to feed, then the next weakest, then perhaps the eel assuming the Undulated is the last one left.> I understand what you are saying but I also understand every situation is different. If the consensus is this setup is impossible, please advise on what could work. In order of what I want to keep it goes: 1) Undulated, 2) Moray Eel, 3) Niger, 4) Pink Tail. <One trigger and the Eel, although an Undulated Trigger may still decide to sample an eel. Basically your tank is not sustainable as currently stocked.> <Chris><< and thank you Chris... for this further resp. My BP can't handle much more. RMF>>

saltwater fish behavior and cause of death... env. Ridiculous mix of species in too small system... too much money, too little knowledge   5/5/08 Hello. I have had my saltwater reef tank established for almost nine months now and just recently problems have began to occur. My tank consists of a few hardy corals, a emporer anglefish, clown fish with a anenome, <... the Angel name is tellingly mis-spelled, and need to know the species of Anemone> a sargassum trigger fish, and a kole tang. Its 65 gallons, <... you're not joking? This mix of species won't fit in such a small volume> with about 55 pounds of live rock, and a few snails and hermits. <... will be eaten by the Balistid> My trigger fish had begun to be very timid, hiding in the rocks for days, only comming out to eat, and now has died. All my elements are where they should be, but the alkilinity hasnt been very stable. Its not horrible but not where it should be. I'm wondering if that could be why he died. And now I've began to notice my anglefish displaying unusual behavior. He will often go to the right side of the tank, between live rock and the glass, and just hover. I really hope he is'nt going to die also. Could you give me any advice? Gayle <Read... re the needs of the life you intend to keep BEFORE purchasing it. What you list won't work. Bob Fenner>

Query Yellow Wrasse & Cleaner Wrasse... mis-stocked reef on its way to the big ex-hobbyist garage in the sky    10/3/06 Hello WWM Team, I am Hitesh from Mumbai India. I got a 48\"x15\"x24\"  with 55kgs Live Rocks cleaned by Venturi type skimmer....2 power heads for circulation (3000L/Hr) Lighting - 1 no Metal Halide (Blue Radium) 75W 20000K, 2 NOs 36W PL 10000KInverts - Boxer Shrimp / Candy Shrimp / Whine Shrimp (2 NOs) / <Wonder what this is> Anemone Shrimps 2 pairs / 3 Anemones / <Trouble...> 1 no Mushroom rock / 4 polyp rocks / 4 leather corals / 2 daisy corals / 1 cauliflower coral / 1 brain coral / 1 sea fan / 6 feather dusters S - 2 NOs Regals / 1 Maroon Gold Band / 2 Skunks / 1 Pseudochromis / 1 blue devil / 2 yellow goby\'s / 1 three striped damsel / 1 cleaner wrasse / 1 yellow wrasse. Coming to my question - I have recently added 1 yellow wrasse , i was acclimatizing it in a container above my tank , when i returned i saw the container empty!! <Jumped!> i searched in vain that whole evening in the nooks and crevices of the tank ... i was just praying that the yellow wrasse may have jumped in the tank while acclimatizing and survived... The following morning the yellow wrasse appeared and i was glad ..it was eating too! it was swimming the whole day until it disappeared again by evening (even though the 2 NOs PL lights were on) it didn't appear in early morning today during my feed time....am worried...am in office now and hoping to see it swimming when am back home late evening. Question 2 - I had also purchased a cleaner wrasse which was also introduced simultaneously, <Labroides sp.? Poor choice> it never took into hiding and kept swimming the whole day till it vanished in the evening 30 minutes after the yellow wrasse vanished. It hasn't appeared today morn whilst feeding... Is this normal? <To die mysteriously? Yes> In case they hide in evening how do they get to know its evening considering the lights still on! Lights MH and 1 PL on from 7 am morn to 7 pm evening and post 7 pm 2 Pls on till 10pm then no lights till morn. feeding time 7 am and 7 pm <Where to start...? You have an incompatible mix of Anemones and other Cnidarian species... and too much period for such a small volume of water. Please take a read re the species listed on WWM (use the indices, search tool)... re their Compatibility, Systems... Is there a full moon out or what? Bob Fenner>

Twitching clowns... Lots of cute names... for incompatible, over-stocked, soon-to-be-dead marines. Ho-buoy! Almost past-time to read    10/3/06 Hello Bob I'm a new comer with a query.  I have a small tank of 38 litres, 2.5 kilos of live rock, 1 anemone about 3inches circumference (called Fats), 1 bubble anemone  1 1/2 inches circumference (called Mr. Willys) <Anemones are largely incompatible cross-species... no matter what they're named> 1 star fish (called Miss Movie Star) 1 ocellaris clown (Snoopy 2.5cms long) for this time. but only 2 months ago added  Fats because he never went in to the Mr. Willys). Once I got Fats he seemed happy and complete so after a couple of weeks I added one tiny domino damsel (Spots 1cm long), <Let's call him Mr. Biggee, the Terminator> which he constantly chased around the tank. Snoopy was getting more and more aggressive so I purchased another ocellaris yesterday (Tony - 2.5cm long). <Too much...> Now Tony is the boss of the tank chasing snoopy away from Fats, they locked jaws fighting for the first few hours on off yesterday.  Today doesn't seem as bad but Tony chases Snoopy constantly and they both do this twitching movement on there side (Snoopy does it more)  Tony is forcing Snoopy behind the rock and then returns to Fats only for a few seconds then hangs around Snoopy and back and forth it goes.  Snoopy is a bit ragged today and doesn't look happy. Snoopy tries to return to Fats but Tony is on to him and doesn't let him stay for long and then with the twitching again.  Is Tony going to get him or what's going on. Thanks Terri-Anne <You have too much and incompatible life here... Please read re Anemone Compatibility: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemcompfaqs.htm Clownfish Compatibility, Dascyllus Comp.... look these up for yourself. You need to either have a much larger system (tens of times what you have), more systems... or to return some of this livestock. BobF> Protoreastor lincki Star... ridiculously over and mis-stocked system   8/22/06 Hi Crew,   I have a Protoreastor Lincki Star ( Red General Star as I call it or Crimson Tide star as my LFS called it).  In my 30 gallon <Needs more room> tank I have 20lb live rock 1 yellow Tang, <Ditto> 3 Damsels, <Ditto...> 1 Clarke clownfish, 1 Green Clown goby, 1 Chocolate Chip Starfish.  Everyone has been living in harmony for the past 6 months or more and about a week ago I added 1 Domino Damsel, <... You're... not... joking...?> 1 Blue Mandarin, 1 Spotted Mandarin, <... you... are... joking> and 1 Particular Clownfish.  They were all acclimated with the slow drip acclimation for two hours prior to putting them in the tank and they all survived with the exception of the Blue Mandarin that my Chocolate Chip Starfish ate. <Not w/o its dying first>   I usually hand feed my starfish frozen krill.  Now a few days after this I noticed my Red General's thorn like markings on his one arm was white as though he caught it on the live rock or something. <It's dying> I checked the water levels to make sure it wasn't ammonia burn or something but levels were fine.  Ph was down just a smidge.   Around 7 hours later I noticed the same thing happening to two other arms. I did a 25% water changes to vacuum out floor and added some buffer. Is this normal? <Mmm, no> Is this a disease?  Should I be worried? <I would be>   No sign of other fish or starfish with this change.  No sign their attacking him.  What should I do? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stardisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Your tank is ridiculously over- and mis-stocked... It is likely on the verge of an outright crash... I would quick like a bunny read re the requirements of the species you list and either ASAP get another much larger system, or give away what you can't provide for here. Bob Fenner> Clown with swollen mouth not eating. Sm. SW tank, over and mis-stocked...   9/19/06 Hi, <Howdy> First the needed info'¦~1.5 month old 15 gallon tall FO tank - Ammonia/Nitrates/Nitrite all zero ppm.  pH ~8.2, Salinity 1.024. Temp 84. /Over the back filter rated 30g/ powerhead 30-50g/substrate I purchased 2 percula clowns <This tank/world is too small...> from my LFS a week ago today.  The first few days they were spectacular, swimming all over the tank in their cute little wiggly manner.  They made friends with my 3 stripe damsel <Way too small...> but I had to get rid of him (the damsel)  because he was being quite the bully to the other yellow tail blue damsel <Still too small...> that was in the tank. As soon as I got rid of the 3 stripe it seemed like things seemed to go downhill quite rapidly.  The day after getting rid of him, the clowns seemed significantly more lethargic and the blue tail was picking at them a little. <...> A day goes by and the clowns will no longer eat, the hang out in the areas of the tank with little circulation and still won't eat.  At this point since both of them looked perfect, I thought that maybe the blue damsel had been picking on them a little too much, <Yes, likely> so I fished him out (no pun intended :-):-):-) ) and took him back to my LFS, after all these were only the fish used to cycle the tank. <And infest it with parasites? Not a good idea to use such fishes for cycling> So, I went home all happy expecting the clowns to have perked up, no such luck :-(  I decided to keep attempting to feed them (frozen Mysis shrimp & Emerald entrée which they had eaten with some appetite the first three days I had them) still no success. Yesterday I did a little more reading <Ah, good> and went out and bought a pink skunk cleaner shrimp'¦ Also, I thought they might be depressed because of losing their tank buddies. <Ahh, no> I had read about fish refusing to eat when they lose a companion fish, so I bought a 3/4' hippo tang <... no> in an effort to cheer them up. (Don't worry, I plan on getting a larger tank in the near future to accommodate the tangs growth) <Too late>   But'¦ the fish are still not eating, and the hippo has joined them in their strike (although I have only had him for a day, I'm hoping he may still be a little stressed and that could be the reason for his refusal of food.)  A lesson learned though, I feel victim to the newbie's 'I have to have that' syndrome. <Yes... seems so>   Shortly after bringing them home, I noticed one of the clowns going to the surface and attempting to eat the bubbles from my over the back filter. A bad sign, I know'¦ <Mmm, not necessarily> This morning: After looking at them closer, one of the clowns is definitely worse off then the other.  I have spent many hours searching the disease info for clowns on this website and others with no definite symptoms. <Is an "environmental disease"... Crowded and bullied from the get-go... never fully adjusted to their setting... and re-crowded further with the introduction of the Tang...>   The larger clown seems to be breathing at least twice as fast as the other and has an enlarged mouth.  By 'enlarged' I mean about twice, maybe three times as big as the clown with no observable problems (other than not eating.)  Both of them seem to have a very thin string hanging from their underside (sorry.. I'm a newbie to this, don't really know all the terms yet)  It does tend to fall off of the smaller clown, but remains on the one with the enlarged mouth. Their colors are still very bright, and their fins are not clamped to their body at all.  I'm really worried, I tried a freshwater dip with both of them, they seemed to improve a little bit (they moved out of the corner they were hovering in)  I don't know how much good it did though, I only left them in for one minute. Which I found out later today should have been fifteen. (sigh)   I called 4 different LFS's today and did some of the things they recommended'¦ a 20% water change and I also added a very finely minced/ground small garlic clove to the tank and tried to feed them dried seaweed. The garlic seemed to help a little, the hippo fell for it.  I saw him eating a few of the chunks that would come close to him.  The smaller clown seemed interested too, he swam up to a few pieces and ate them, but then spit them right back out again, same with the seaweed.  ( I told him to swallow, he didn't listen)  The Hippo seems to be breathing rapidly as well, <The environment...> although I can't tell if that's just because he is so small and it really isn't that fast for his size.    It has now been 4 days of the clowns not eating, the shrimp doesn't seem to be doing any cleaning on them.  One of the LFS's that I talked to said it's probably a phosphate problem because I have been feeding primarily frozen food and the other said to just wait and watch them to try and identify a disease. <...?> The first store suggested that I do a 20% water change everyday for the next three days to lower anything in the tank that may have accumulated. The mouth has become more pronounced since I talked to the stores, I don't know how fast I should act to treat this. I have a bottle of Kordon Rid Ich+  (ingredients formalin and zinc free malachite green) <Yes, thank you for this listing... toxic>   that I bought today from the advice on the disease pages.  I don't want to put it in the tank though as it would probably harm my shrimp/hermits/snails ? <Yes, will assuredly kill them... the rest of the tank in turn> I was thinking of setting up a small hyposalinity 2 gallon bucket or acrylic tank to put the treatment in.  Do you think I should put all the fish in this or just the large mouth clown or both since neither is eating? <None of the above> Also would I do this for 15 minutes everyday for a few days or leave them in it for a few days?  I was a little confused about this information on your website.   And, I don't know if this would help them or not, but I have a protein skimmer in a box that I haven't put on the tank since I got it.  I was told that my tank is too small and doesn't need one. <Incorrect. I would install and run it pronto>   It's a SeaClone 100.  Too big for a 15g?   <No> There also seems to be some brown diatom algae in my tank, not a lot. <Actually a good sign... the system is cycling still, more completely> My snail eats the majority of it.  And the last thing, the same time I got rid of the 3 stripe I added a fake anemone (rated for saltwater) that I purchased from the LFS, could this be causing the problem? <Yes... some of these ornaments were manufactured of problematic material... I would remove this> Just wanted to put all the info out there.  I really appreciate your help! - Nicole <Well... I would return the Hippo Tang ASAP, add the skimmer, keep up with water testing, be careful re matching spg with new water changes, add no more fishes (you're overstocked as is with the two Clowns), and forget re actual chemical treatments... Oh yes, and keep reading.... this last so you can make up your own mind re the science/factual base of your decisions. Bob Fenner> Re: reef problems... Just crowding   2/6/06 Sorry for the grammatical errors last time. I was in a rush. The problem is that all my fish are twitching out of control. My clownfish will go on his side completely and will shudder and twitch- as if he was having a seizure. My hippo tang is doing it also- but not my blenny. All of my inverts. are o.k. also. The twitching all started when I added a second clown of the same family to the tank. Any ideas as to what is causing these behaviors or how to fix them? My tank is twenty gallons- long version with a power filter and skimmer and the current live stock is: two clownfish (ocelarious), one hippo tang (less than the size of a quarter), a small blenny, a button polyp colony, banded coral shrimp, and a clean up crew consisting of about five hermits and three snails. -thanks <... way too small... your problems are rooted in crowding... behavioral and physiological... You need more room, period. Bob Fenner>

Problems with tank... actually, misplaced species, mix... 7/28/05 Hi there,     About 6 months ago my mom decided to dive into the world of marine aquariums.  She bought a 55 gallon aquarium and a bunch of live rock and such and it has been doing just fine.  But recently we have been having problems.  Firstly, we had an anemone, which I want to classify as an Atlantic Carpet type based on a pic I saw online, but I am just not sure. <Anemones are not easily kept... pose problems in turn for other life housed with them> Anyways it was fairly small (perhaps 4 cubic inches) and when my mom was adding some more water to the tank (dechlorinated) it flipped over. <Water quality, temperature need to be carefully matched...> I worried about it righting itself but mom is rather stubborn and said it would be find.  Needless to say it slowly faded from beige/purply to white and died.  It never flipped back over.  If we buy another anemone should we make sure that it attaches itself to the substrate or a rock? <... please have your mom read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm and the linked files above...> Now I should tell you about the fish we have.  We have three tomato clowns, one about 3 inches, another 2 inches and one that is perhaps 1.5 inches.  We have 2 domino damsels (3 inches), 2 1-inch 3-stripe damsels.  We also have a flame scallop, <Almost impossible to keep alive...> a feather duster, one anemone (with a tubular body and very long tentacles-he grew out of the live rock), two saddleback clowns- each about 1 inch long, one little percula clown (1 inch), a scissortail goby (2 inches), and a few other fish that I do not know the names of.  One is very multi-colored and boxy with one long spine on its back, two others and goby-like but completely yellow and one it like the goby-type ones only with a bright pink patch down its head and back with a yellow belly.  (sorry for the length of this)  Anyways one of the 3-stripe damsels started to swim towards the surface of the water.  He developed a bubble on one of his eyes and his tail fin seemed to be rotting away, even to the point where we could see his flesh.  We added medicine to the tank (white powder from pills, name starts with A. anthromycin is what I want to say) <Likely the antibiotic Erythromycin> but it did no good and he died.  Was this preventable? <Mmm, yes to maybe... for a fifty five gallon, you have a good deal of fish life, not very compatible... too many clown species, individuals... and the Dominos... very aggressive> Now just in the past couple weeks the tiniest of our clowns, the percula seems very unhappy.  He is always by himself, and hovers slightly above the Mag Float tank scrubber we have on the side of the tank.  He never leaves it, not even when we feed the tank.  (we feed them 2 cubes of frozen shrimp a day alternating between mysis and brine)  I went on a short trip, leaving 5 cubes of food in the aquarium (on recommendation from the woman at the fish store).  When I returned today I saw that the percula clowns fins were seemingly thinner and frayed-looking.  He was also not swimming very strongly and laying on his side on the bottom of the tank.   When I put food into the aquarium he did not seem to go for any of it.   About 5 minutes later I observed the biggest tomato clown nudging the percula and then nipping at the side of his face.  He then chomped on the percula and swam for about 6 inches with the percula in his mouth.  I decided to intervene.  I removed the percula from the tank into a smaller tank I had available but it has no filter or anything.  I put in a cube of the shrimp but there seems to be no improvement.  It simply just lays there on its side, 'breathing' rapidly.  What could be wrong with it?   <You're joshing right?> Does it require more of its same size and type of clown fish? <Ahh, yes... in an otherwise uncrowded, well set-up system> Why was the tomato clown treating it this way?   <Territoriality... resource partitioning... so it could have the space, food in the area> Thanks so much for your time.  Hopefully some of my questions are answerable. <Kind of...> Perhaps this way I can help guide my mother into properly caring for this ecosystem when I am off at college next year as this has become my job.  Anyways, thanks again. -Louise, MI <Do have her read through WWM re her set-up and the needs of each species... Bob Fenner> Treatment mistakes compounded by crowding influenced by treatment, no quarantine... hello to whomever I landed at the crew.     been a fan of the site for some time and have enjoyed the tips and tricks offered for freshwater/brackish puffers and other fish, but let me get to the problem tank 55 gallons SG 1.023 temp 76 degrees 0 ammonia 0 nitrites 20 nitrates ph 7.9-8.1 (depending on test kit from LFS and mine) I have two hospital tanks a 5 gallon and a ten gallon tank filtration protein skimmer (air driven rated for 90 gallons) 120 gallon hang on tank dual pad filter in the tank 20 gallon filter for current and extra filtration two powerheads on side for current tank mates 1 porcupine puffer 2" 1 Atlantic angel 1.5 " 1 niger trigger 1.5 " 4 damsels less than 1" a piece and 1 rectangle trigger that I was keeping for a friend 1.5 " <Yikes... this is way too much life for a 55 gallon system... and going to get much worse in time> my problem.  I had a beauty of a Atlantic angel fish that began to form a large white cyst type object on its head, after consulting friends in the saltwater trade and both my local LFS stores they recommended to simply watch it since it probably was Lymphocystis and everything was swimming and eating fine no heavy breathing very active but not scratching or twitching, over night it burst into a petal type thing with little white strands hanging out of it I netted him into a quarantine tank for more observation. in the main tank though, the next night the puffer and the triggers being covered in white film and spots as were some of the damsels affected the entire tank with ich or velvet, after researching it and removing the live rock to another tank I treated the whole display tank with formalin and a fungus remover that has moderate antibiotics as recommended to not disrupt all my tank filtration bacterial wise.  this because we were not sure if it was a fungus or a parasite or what.   <... real trouble... formalin is an outright biocide... it crosslink's peptides... the building blocks of ALL life (if you skip viruses and their kin) on this planet...!> the puffer died during the treatment (stopped eating or swimming I put it in a net at the top of the tank with a bubble bar and even a separate tank but no luck he was too covered in the whitish strand film) and the angels head bump lost its strand like stuff on it but was still and open sore with white all around it and coming out of it, not skin as the angel was a beautiful yellow.   <I fully suspect your fish did NOT have an actual biological disease per se... but an environmental one, greatly worsened by crowding psychologically> the rectangle went back to my LFS so it could be better monitored and treated as I have diabetes and cant get around as well.  the other fish were reunited with the LR after all clearing up from the initial bout after I vacuumed the gravel and changed 30% of the water , but I put the angel and the niger in a quarantine tank together since the niger was still spotty and the angels bump was growing again.   well now the main tank has reinfected my damsels, the angels white blister like thing reopened and infected the hospital tank.  I used clout since it seems to all involved, my family friends with saltwater tanks, my LFS's and here that it probably was a parasite, since it was very effective on the rectangle trigger to cure it.  well the angel died very quick, and the niger and 2 damsels are quarantined in the hospital tank after it was steam cleaned and reset up. and remedicated with clout.  this has been going on for over two weeks though.  I'm afraid I cant get the green parasites (green from the clout supposedly dead) to come off the fish.  I vacuum the bottom and change water to keep it good quality.   I have two other fish in another quarantine tank since they came in form an order after the attack.  my display tank is fishless with only the substrate and LR in it and I'm vacuuming it, I had to take the heater out for the other q/t tank and disconnect the skimmer on it as it was leaking water without the heater and filter to keep the water high enough.  what can I do now to keep the LR coralline algae alive without reinfecting the other fish? <Leave all fish life out of your main tank...> is it ok in 60 degree water? <Not for very long... a few days will be okay> or do I need to keep the temp up for it? <Yes> also how can I help the niger shed its supposedly dead parasites and keep it form being reinfected.  it wont tolerate copper as it almost died from .15 copper treatments at the LFS.   I am quarantining my fish as per recommendations and such but I wasn't expecting such a mess from something like a blister/cyst.   anything else you can offer would be great thank you very much.   Justin <Justin... you need to take a good long read, consider your options here. You do NOT need to add any more "medicine" to your main system, but let it go fallow (w/o fish hosts) for a good four plus weeks. Read here please: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm and on to the various Related Articles and FAQs (at top, in blue) where they lead you. Do NOT buy any more livestock till you have enough room to support them AT adult size. DO monitor your treatment tank water quality daily, and be prepared to change out a good deal of the water (with stored pre-mixed). Bob Fenner> A mariners worst nightmares #2 sorry I forgot to mention that I do freshwater dip with ph and temp adjusted water for two weeks as well but doesn't seem to help <Ahh, a further clue that what you are observing is NOT parasitic in nature, but environmental. Bob Fenner>

-Tank too small, Fish too tall- Hi! <Hello> My boyfriend and I have a 92 gallon corner tank. Complete with large wet/dry filter, Rainbow UV sterilizer, and Protein skimmer. <Good setup for a high fish load, but be careful as the wet/dry does raise nitrates levels over time. A good DSB in the sump will help that.> We have a Humu Humu Trigger, Niger trigger, dog face and porcupine puffer, large domino damsel, and a coral banded shark egg (almost there). <Wow, I do not mean to be rude, but that is an incredible amount of fish in a very small tank. To house these fish well for any really length of time you need at least 240 gallons or 300 gallons for the shark alone. as each trigger gets 12'-15' or more, the porcupine puffer will get 18', the dogface 15' and that shark around 3FT (NOT typos on the sizes). Not to mention the waste that each fish puts out would strain any filter system and yours is way too underpowered to handle these fish.> Each one of those About 2 days ago he purchased a Fu Manchu lionfish<You do not have space for any of those fish please do not add any more>. I noticed his left eye was cloudy and he was dragging all over the tank. I was reading the FAQ's and noticed that this could be attributed to bad water quality. <Yes I am surprised any of your fish have not become ill yet already.> About an hour ago there was a whole bunch of snotty, mucus chunks floating all over the tank. The lionfish is now hiding behind some live rock on the ground, he is still breathing fine, but, I am nervous about what is wrong with him and will it affect the other fish? Should we remove him and put him into a hospital tank? Do you know what could be wrong with it and how we can treat him? Thanks, Heather <Well Heather I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you have severely overstocked a tank that can only handle maybe 2 fish at full size being 1 trigger and one puffer but probably only one large fish. Having so many huge waste producers has destroyed your water quality, not to mention that you have what I call a tank crash on your hands which is where water quality drops then completely crashes as there is too much waste and not enough water and filtration to fix it. I would immediately recommend taking out the lion and putting in a hospital tank with some Epsom salt (1 tsp per 5 gallons) to help the eye as Epsom salt releases the built up water pressure behind the eye to help it heal. Then I would call your LFS and either buy a much larger tank (300 gallons or so) very soon, as well as the best filtration, protein skimmer and wet dry you can get. Otherwise I would trade or give back the fish you have, keeping one or 2 of the bigger fish. You must really research the fish you have and read up on the FAQ's on sizes before buying them as each of those fish will get very large and you will have if you do not already have a massive tank death in progress. Please test your water quality ASAP and do a large water change (50%) as well as vacuuming the gravel. Also be prepared and get as many spare tanks or containers that you can use as makeshift hospital tanks to use if the other fish become sick. There is no treatment med wise for poor water and dirty tanks other than to put in clean water and hope for the fish to heal up and get healthy in cleaner water. > <Good Luck> <Justin (Jager)> 

Niger Trigger...Please help - - I have already checked out the FAQs Hey Bob, I have just read all the FAQ's and I think I have an idea of what is going on, but there are still some unanswered questions.  We have a 70 gallon tank, Ph, is 8.3, salinity is fine, and my husband is running out to gather nitrate testing supplies today. We have had the tank for a little over a year.  The tankmates, Picasso trigger at 2" the bully of the tank, one snowflake eel, one sea urchin - equipped with armor (scallop shells he has attached to his body), three starfish; two chocolate and one blue, a newly acquired porcupine puffer, yesterday (my husband's not smart idea) and Foo our Niger. He is roughly 3"-4" with tail. All other tankmates are fine. <This mix of species is a... disaster waiting to happen> OK, so about 6-7 days ago, Foo ducked out. It was after a tank cleaning and rearranging of the rocks, Foo hates that, but it has got to happen. Anyway, he of course disappeared for all of that, but never really bounced back. (My friend, who is a marine biologist, felt like he was swimming funny when we cleaned the tank, so it is possible that it was not simply the stress of the cleaning.)  He has not been eating, seems to have some trouble swimming when he does emerge, and now is currently hiding in his favorite cave. He has done this before, emerging with new teeth (I was glad to be reaffirmed that they do teethe, people laughed at my husband and I when we explained we thought that might be what was going on this time) anyway, that time he emerged with new orange teeth.  This time, taking a good look at him last night when he was out of the cave, but still triggered into the side of a rock, he looks to have new white teeth, however, this morning, I can see his other side, he still retains at least one orange tooth. Clearly, we are concerned about him. Unfortunately, we were not very versed at fish owning when we got the tank, therefore we have no way to qt him, and I know that if I tried to feed him with a stick, Mr. Van Winkle (the Picasso) would simply follow and make the situation worse.  The only strange thing about his outward appearance, obviously his behavior is odd, is that two - or three times, when I have looked at him one of his eyes has white around it which is swollen and protruding, noticeably but not enormous. I did not find anything on the FAQs about this. It seems to come and go. Questions: Is he simply teething again? What is up with the eye? What can we do? <Continuously grow out teeth... the eye is damaged... likely physically... you can/could bolster the Trigger's immune system with soaking its foods in a vitamin et al. supplement> PS: I know you will have bad things to say re: tank size etc. so go ahead and lay it on, it will only give me more ammo to show my husband that we need a bigger tank! Thanks in advance for your help... VT <You definitely need bigger quarters, somewhere to separate the eel, other trigger in future... Bob Fenner>   

- Losing Fish - Hi, This weekend my husband and I set up a new tank (180 liter). We bought 4 new fish and our two juvenile common clownfish joined this tank. We used 50% of the water of our old tank. Besides fish we had put 1 live rock from Indonesia in it and some other rocks. After two days all the new fish past away. We cleaned the tank and put our little two clownfish in the hospital tank. In this tank we already had another fish and a shrimp. My husband also changed the filter system in the hospital tank with the one of our new tank. The filter system is 1400 l/H. Our hospital tank is only 30 liters. The next day the other fish in the hospital tank died but the two clownfish and the shrimp are still happily swimming in the tank. The level of ammonia was zero, Ph was 8 and the NO3 was high. The next day I changed the filter with the old one again.   Can you tell me what happened. Because I can't believe that the fish got toxified, because the smallest fish survived. I do think that there was something with the live rock, because they told me that it was cleaned but some kind of black worm came out of it. I threw it away when I cleaned the tank. <Most likely the fish were already on the downward slope when you got them. To say any more specifically than that would take either clairvoyance or dissection under a microscope, so I'm sorry I don't have a better answer for you. What type of fish were they?> Thanks Julie. <Cheers, J -- >

- Losing Fish, Follow-up - Hi But I thought with Chemipure I would not need to replace the saltwater for up to five year? <I should hope not... I've never trusted anything that promises 'no water changes' and there's no filter media I am aware of that would last five years. To keep your fish healthy, you simply must do regular small water changes, otherwise your fish end up living in their own filth. Five percent a week or 10% every two weeks is a good interval for water changes, but it's not wise to wait much more than that.> By the way, I have check my pH level, it is at 8, so it is at a healthy level. <Uhh... pH should be in the range of 8.2-8.4 so 8.0 is actually lower than it should be.> I mentioned my tank as 2ft tank not 2ft long apologize if I mislead you. <I still not sure I follow - what are the dimensions of your tank?> Cheers, Terence <Cheers, J -- >

- Losing Livestock - Hi Me again....I do not know what is happening but every day I have a fish dying....I have check the salt level it is ok and I am using a cooling fan to bring down the temperature to 27 degree Celsius max, so what else am I missing? To recap my set up again 1. Top filter with Chemipure and ceramic rings 2. Cooling fan 3. Live Rocks 4. Coral Rocks ? - dead already ...I assume 5. Hydrometer 6. Protein Skimmer - my slug went into the skimmer and never came out already or don't want to come out? 7. Surface Skimmer Live Stock 1. 6 clowns left with 1 2. 4 Damsels left with 2 3. Oriole Angel 4. Doctor Fish 5. Bi colour Blenny 6. Cleaner Shrimp Please help me.. I feel so sad when they die for reason that I do not know. thanks, Terence <If I recall, you weren't sure how much water your tank held - you mentioned "at least 50 litres" which is not a suitable amount of water for all these fish. I'm guessing you have more water than that because you also mention the tank is about 2 feet long - but still, your system is/was grossly overstocked. I'm sure the problems you've had were due to stress caused by overcrowding... perhaps now that things are trimmed back a bit, the tank and occupants will stabilize. In the meanwhile, you should be doing weekly water changes to make sure water quality is tip-top - roughly 5%. Cheers, J -- >

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