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FAQs on HLLE, Head and Lateral Line Disease 3

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

Related FAQs: HLLE 1HLLE 2HLLE 4, & FAQs on HLLE: Causes/Etiology, Cures, Non-Cures, SW Case Histories, FW Case Histories, Vitamins in Marine Systems,

Advancing neuromast destruction...

C. lunula & HLLE  12/12/07 I would like to know if HLLE manifests itself differently in Raccoon Butterfly fish than the typical head erosion (ie as it does in yellow tangs). Thank you. Michelle <Neuromast destruction has the same etiology in both species, but is more easily seen, faster onset, and degenerative in Acanthuroids than Chaetodontids. Bob Fenner>

White spots on goby's head, HLLE, causes?  9/13/07 Hello I have a citron goby that has lots of white spots protruding from its head only. <I see these> I have had the fish for about 3 weeks. I don't remember if it had them when I first got it but it has gotten worse since. The lady I bought it from said it was nothing to worry about but its getting worse and doesn't look like it should be there. It was the first fish i got for my aquarium <Mmm, a clue> and it's only other tank mate is a red starfish. My nitrite and ammonia level was 0 and pH 8.2, salinity about 1.023. <And this> Everything was good though the goby had the spots, a while after I added the starfish for some reason (possibly overfeeding) the nitrite levels went up to .7 <Mmm... dangerous> at the highest (this was about 2 weeks ago) and after a week of daily water changes and reduced feeding it went back to 0 again. Now it remains constant at 0 to .1. I had fake soft coral in my aquarium that i thought could be the problem so i took it out put it in a glass jar with freshly mixed salt water and tested for nitrite a few days later and it was at .8. Anyway, if you could tell me what's on the goby's head and how to get rid of it that would be great. Attached is a picture of what it looked like to start with and two photos of what its like now. Thank you for your help. Katie <See how regular the markings are... if you look closely you'll find they are symmetrical... this condition is neuromast destruction... in the hobby often called HLLE, Head and Lateral Line Erosion... symptomatic of a few possible influences... inappropriate environment (the low spg, high NO2, too new tank...), nutritional deficiency, possible protozoan involvement (e.g. Octomita necatrix)... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: white spots on goby's head 9/13/07 Hi again, I thought I should add that my tank is a new one that I set up with inoculated gravel (marble chip) <Mmm, do like the idea, but not the substrate> and had it cycle for a month. My little goby isn't a picky or shy eater. The first day I fed it brine shrimp, it was happy to eat it all and now I feed it Nutrafin max pellets/morsels with 45% crude protein to give it more of a variety and I was hoping it would give its colour back. The goby started losing colour a while ago, especially at the top near its fins there are large dark patches that almost looks like bruising though I doubt it. <Mmm, I'd try soaking supplement... perhaps Selcon> I was also wondering if its normal for my starfish to be obsessed with bubbles. My air pump stone thing is right in the corner where my starfish usually spends most of its time on the glass next to it or on the gravel right beside it. <Likely seeking more water movement... its effects> I haven't really got a photo that shows the loss of colour that well but you might be able to notice it in this photo. Thanks once again PS. I did look around on your site for several days first looking for the answer or a pic of a fish that has the same problem. Katie Paulsen
<Very nice pix indeed. BobF>

Questions, Zebrasoma sys., HLLE    8/19/07 I have a Z. desjardinii that arrived with a horrible case of Head and Lateral Line Disease, almost as bad as the case on the cover of Dulin's book, Diseases of Marine Aquarium Fishes (which ironically does not even discuss it). Water quality is pristine, 29 gal tank, <Much too small for this Zebrasoma...> with Skilter 400 outside filter <Inadequate...> and Rio 600 powerhead in the tank, is grounded. It receives a 30% - 50% water change weekly from my reef display (500 gallons) which I keep at 1.025sg, ph 8.2-8.3, 78.5 degrees, 12dkh, calcium 425, mag 1200, strontium 15, ammonia, nitrates and nitrites 0, iron, iodine and phosphate unreadable with SeaChem test kit. I do run carbon continuously as I keep hard and soft corals together, and UV. Continuously skim. Move about 6000gph. and have 200 gal sump/refugium with a bunch of Chaetomorpha . 600+ lb live rock (incl sump), deep sand bed (6") over a plenum. In the Conscientious...you indicate that vitamins C and D are helpful for curing HLLE. <This and iodide, yes> I want to be sure, does the C need to be ascorbic acid without any fillers or binders (such as tablets)? <Can have these... the active ingredient is all that is important> I have been using grain alcohol (Everclear) as the carrier to add it to the food since it is water soluble and then waiting until it has completely evaporated before use (source; Craig Harms, NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine, Fish Health Management Course). How long will the C remain stable/viable in the food? <Long periods of time... at least days> In all of the other literature I have reviewed, C was the only one indicated for HLLE. We have been feeding him Spectrum 1mm pellets fortified with C, and Ocean Nutrition and Spectrum flake mixed, dried marine algae daily, as well as various prepared frozen foods 3 times a week and blanched romaine occasionally, for about 2.5 months now. He eats anything that hits the water quite greedily (we call him our little shark). He has shown some improvement, but at the rate he seems to be healing he will be in quarantine for another year! I am going to try adding broccoli to his diet as you recommend. <Okay> On to vitamin D. Should it be D3? What form? <Mmm, actually, a mix is best... and easiest to supply in a commercial preparation... like Selcon, Micro-Vit...> Powder (most stable) or liquid (suspended in an oil base, found 2, one in almond oil, one in an unknown so would have to contact the mfg to find out). What should the carrier be to add it to the food if powder form? <Best to use a/the liquid prep., add to foods (ten minute or so soak) and perhaps once a week to the water directly... perhaps along with (prior) a regular water change out> Can I use grain alcohol also? <Not necessary or advised> Can I mix it with the vitamin C, both in the food as well as the carrier (if alcohol can be used as the carrier for D3)? If it is the oil based one can it be added directly to the food? <I would not add oils to the system... too likely to be troubles with gas diffusion...> Lastly, at what dosage should I be adding for both? I look forward to hearing from you. Mark Simon, VP Living Marine Art <The real issue/cause of neuromast destruction is not just nutritional here... but environmental... in a word, Stress... this animal needs to be in larger quarters... with natural foodstuffs available (LR...). You have read here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and the linked FAQs files above? Bob Fenner.

Re: chrysurus angel sick... Shark med.s, Now: HLLE   8/13/07 Hello Bob, I hope you are having a great weekend...Well the sharks have been in the garage for 3 days in no meds, and they are still not eating. As for my display tank, my lion fish looks horrible holes all over face and hasn't accepted food since Sunday. My imperator and passer angel both have holes all over face but they are still eating. <Please read on WWM re HLLE... seek improvement here re iodide, vitamin use> ( I have treated tank with quinine sulf and Metronidazole) But i am getting very worried about my Conspic angel he eats only a little bit and now isn't showing signs of ich on body as I can visually tell, but his eye has become cloudy.  <These are concomitant effects of the med. exposure...> He can still see as he follows me around the tank but am at a loss. Am considering removing all fish from display and draining it. Any thoughts? <Yes... read> I can put them with the sharks in garage no meds in there. <I would... and read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and the linked files above. BobF> Once tank is drained let sit one day and refill? then add only sharks and then treat fish in garage with an antibacterial? any help would be appreciated. thank you

Strange Skin Condition (re-send), HLLE, SW   7/22/07 Hi Guys, <Mike> Attached are 2 photos which show my 2 tangs and a skin condition that I'm not sure is cause for concern (is it HLLE?). <Does appear to be some type/degree of neuromast destruction, yes...> They've been through an ich battle recently but have been clear of any white spots since mid-May. <Mmm, could be resultant from copper exposure alone (HLLE is a condition, not a specific derived complaint)> One of the pics shows a clown that has a peculiar discoloration behind the eye...I'm wondering if it's related to what I'm seeing on the tangs and if I should be concerned. Looking back at old photos, that area on the clown was smooth & white before. Thanks, Mike. <Take a quick search on the Net re fish "Lateralis Systems"... Something "in the water" is mal-affecting your fishes or has done so... There are means (mainly nutritional) to bolster the immune systems... spur on regeneration... Posted on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Sore on Fish Head HLLE 6/27/07 I need to know about hole in head. I have a coral beauty that has a sore on it's head and it is getting bigger. Ask a tech about it and she said it was hole in head and was caused by my heater which she said had a small crack in it (some kind of electric charge was entering the water which is why the sore is getting bigger). <HLLE disease, usually dietary in nature. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm .> Have it qt and using MelaFix. <Junk, Tea Tree oil.> She said to use a stronger antibiotics and Metronidazole and it should clear up and the fish feces is white and she said it was Hexamita. <Need to determine what is actually going on here, I do NOT recommend treating with anything as long you don't know what is going on. Also, as far as I know Hexamita does not infect marine fish, although Bob will hopefully correct me here if I'm wrong.> I not sure what to do when I ask some one they have not heard of this so I would like to know if it has hole on head and how to cure it . Thanks <First thing is to determine what is actually wrong with your fish. I suggest looking around here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm and see if any of the pictures or descriptions are what your fish has, then use the appropriate treatment.> <Chris> HLLE in Zebrasoma xanthurum 4/26/07 Dear Crew, <Greetings, Jim. GrahamT with you tonight.> I have a pressing problem here, and I could really use your help.  I've got a sick purple tang, and I'm not sure what it is, so I don't know how to treat it.  First a little background. <Excellent.> I have two main tanks, a 150 long fish-only, and a 150 show reef.  The occupants of the fish-only are large animals, many of which I have been keeping for years.  Some I've raised from babies to what I must assume is full grown.   <Perhaps, but maybe not...> Here's what is in there: Volitans Lion, Foxface, mated pair of Blue Jaw Triggers, Narrow Lined Dog Face Puffer, Raccoon Butterfly, a Green Bird Wrasse, and now a Purple Tang.   <Wow, that is a lot of fishes for a small enclosure like that!> Water parameters are: Ammonia and Nitrite undetectable, Nitrates run as high as 70-80 before a water change, but since it's fish-only, that has never been a problem.   <That is one opinion. Mine would go like this: since your fish have been in this environment for a long time, they have adapted to the less-than ideal water condition. New additions; i.e.., purple tang, would be stressed and mal-affected by this. Don't be fooled by their apparent "wellness." These fish would be better off thinned-out and with less nitrates.> Temp is around 78, ph 8.2.  After reading several articles about the benefits of hyposalinity and its safety for most fish, I keep the salinity a little low, around 1.015-1.016, to reduce the threat of parasites, especially crypts, which wiped out the entire tank eight years ago.   <Bummer.> It's been that way for about six years and doesn't seem to have had any negative effect.  I've also only had one case of ich, and it went away on it's own. Because the fish are large and somewhat aggressive, I can almost never find a fish to purchase which is large enough to add directly (which is generally okay because the tank is pretty full and I rarely add fish).   <"Pretty full" is a mild understatement of fact IMO.> Most of the time I end up buying smaller fish and raising them in another tank, either the reef or one of my smaller tanks (55 or 42).  In fact, that is part of my plan: before I buy a fish, I find out how big it will grow, and then try figure out where I will put it now, and where it will live when full grown.  I hate it when people buy fish that will get too large for any tank they have (i.e. Nasos in a 55--I wouldn't even keep one in my 150).   <Hmm, I might make a similar case about the puffer that reaches around 12"...> Such was the case with the purple tang.  I purchased him small about 1 1/2 years ago from a LFS, and added him to the reef tank--he did great.  Last year, I also added a chevron tang--only about 1" long!  I had ordered him direct from Hawaii, and was scared when I saw how small he was when he arrived, but he did great.  I knew that if they both lived and grew, one would eventually need to move somewhere else, and I had it in mind to move the purple to the fish-only all along.  About a month ago, that day came. I moved the purple to the fish-only, and after a few initial skirmishes with the large Foxface, everything was fine.  For about a week.  Then I noticed a few white spots on the tang.  Thought it was ich, and decided to leave it alone and observe carefully--I find that my efforts to "treat" fish are almost never successful, so it's better just to keep water quality good and wait and see. There hasn't been an ich outbreak in that tank for years.  Well, the spots didn't get rapidly worse, nor did they spread to other fish.  There's no rapid breathing, no scratching, no loss of color, he's eating heartily and acting normally.  Only behavioral change is that he's constantly begging the other fish to clean him.  Rather than spreading rapidly across his body, the spots have gotten larger, too large to be ich.  Occasionally I swear I can see a wormlike shape to some of them.  And now he's developing open lesions wherever the spots have been present the longest.  This is mostly along the lateral line, around the head, especially the creases in the gill flaps, and the caudal peduncle, near the scalpels.   <Huge hints here: "...mostly along the lateral line , around the head..."> I really don't think it is HLLE, though, because of the spots, and because it isn't limited to the head and lateral line.   <Think again.> I've read all the pages concerning diseases.  I don't think it is crypts, or velvet, Brooklynellosis, or black-spot.  Doesn't look like any isopods or macro-parasites to me.  Maybe flukes or some other parasitic worm?  He never showed any sign of it in the reef, only on moving to the fish-only.  I don't like trying to maintain a therapeutic level of copper, but I did dose the tank last week with OrganiCure (150 drops, twice, two days apart).  No difference. <Wouldn't expect a difference in one week, let alone used in the main tank. As FAQs state, copper is readily absorbed into calcareous substrates, so bare-bottomed QT is the best way to compliment use of copper-based treatment. Furthermore, the best advice I can give on HLLE is nutrition and low stress levels.> I could really use some advice.  Do I leave him there and wait it out, even though it seems to be getting worse?  Do I try to remove him to a hospital tank (20G) and treat him there?   <I would look into proper diet and nutrition. The stress of the move killed his depressed immune system.> I AM worried about secondary infection, but getting him out of a 150 with 200 lbs of rock won't be fun.   <No doubt. I wouldn't bother at this point. Stress is the enemy in a sick fish.> If I do, what is the correct treatment?  Copper?  Hyposalinity?  Antibiotics?  Malachite green bath?   <Treat for HLLE. Read all the info we have about it; i.e.., nutrition, diet, water quality, etc.> Do I put him back in the reef, where I have a cleaner goby, fire shrimp and a skunk cleaner shrimp who might get rid of whatever it is?  That seems like it might be the safest bet, though I'm not sure how well the chevron would take to his re-introduction. <Again, don't bother stressing him more, unless the water quality is much better in the reef. I will add that your FOWLR is still in a dangerous position bio-load-wise.> I am sorry this is so very long, but I wanted you to have all the pertinent background and information.  I am also attaching a picture, since I know that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Please advise.  And thanks AGAIN for all you guys do. <Got the pic and I see HLLE right in front of me.> Jim Jensen P.S. a few more pictures of the various diseases would be really helpful on the disease pages. <This will be there, at least!> P.P.S. How long do Foxface live and how big do they get in captivity? I've had mine for about seven years, and it's approaching eight inches long and over an inch thick!   <Subjective, but I would say 5-10 years and not much bigger than that in the best of captive conditions.> His black spot has also become a sort of stripe along the top of his body. <-GrahamT> Re: HLLE in Zebrasoma xanthurum pt.2 4/26/07 GrahamT, Thanks for the quick reply.  You really think 7 fish is too much for a 150 gallon tank?   <It's not about numbers, but full-grown size and diet. The waste is overwhelming your ability to export it (NO3 70-80ppm).> I can't imagine having a six foot tank taking up half my living room with only 3 fish in it.  I just rechecked my Nitrates (I hadn't checked in a long time).  I guess the new protein skimmer (actually the old one from my reef, which got upgraded to a new one) is working a lot better than the antique I had on it until a couple months ago, because Nitrates are around 5 ppm. <Ahh, well that's a different story. Now we're just talking about the stress of a bunch of large fish sharing (what is to them) a small space.> I know that there is clear evidence of damage along the lateral line, but that is not the only place, and there are large white "lumps" and "strings" attached to the fish's skin in various places, including the sides away from the lateral line.  I've got to think that is some type of parasite.   <You are the one who's there. I'll defer to your proximity.> I've attached a couple more photos to try to make it clear.  As I said, the fish did great in the reef (and yes, the nitrates in the reef are undetectable). <I see the pics. On that side, the lesions appear to be more like abrasions, from fighting, perhaps? The other side of the fish (pictured in the first message) looks like a classic case of HLLE to me.> <<No pix moved to move... RMF>> As for diet, I feed Spectrum pellets, Omega One Super Veggie Kelp, Omega One Veggie Rounds, Seaweed Selects Kelp, Romaine, Plankton, Krill, and Formula One.  What else do you suggest? <A vacation to the reef? I think the stress has gotten to the little guy. It's your call whether or not to move him back to the reef. You can't be sure if that will be the cure for him or not. I discourage treating whole systems for one ailing newcomer, but you can try Metronidazole with food (not only in the water) if you do try meds.> Jim <HTH -GrahamT> Miracle Mud?...Seeking a Cure for HLLE - 04/05/07 Hi. <<Hello>> I've reviewed all of your FAQ's regarding Mud Filtration, and visited the EcoSystem web-site. <<Ok>> I don't see anything that answers my following question, which makes me wonder if it has an obvious answer that just isn't  obvious to me. <<Well let's take a look...>> Here goes: Can you put Miracle Mud in your display tank? <<Hmm...you could...but I think much of it would get/remain suspended by the water flow in the tank>> I have a  75 gallon FOWLR tank with a 3" DSB and a wet/dry sump. <<Simply increasing the depth of the DSB (even just an inch or two) with sugar-fine aragonite sand would be beneficial in my opinion>> My blue tang that I've had for 6 years is showing signs of HLLE, and I've read that the EcoSystem is the best way to go. <<Maybe. maybe not...  Apart from environmental issues; this tank is too small for the tang, a factor that is likely contributing to its condition, HLLE is often a result of nutritional deficiency>> After seeing how expensive it is, I'm trying to find a  way around it. <<Do consider "beefing up" the nutritional value of the foods you feed this fish.  All can/should be soaked in Selcon (or similar) at least a couple times a week.  Also, adding vitamins (Boyd's VitaChem) directly to the water can help (marine fish "drink" their environment)>> Can I mix MM in with my already existing live sand? <<Would work best if placed "beneath" the live sand...for the reasons stated earlier>> Also, if this isn't a good idea, will having an in-tank refugium with Caulerpa be beneficial to combat the HLLE? <<A refugium is always of benefit, but like the Miracle Mud, is no panacea.  You don't list your water chemistry values which depending could also be a contributor here, but I would start with the fishes diet...and do consider its need for a larger "home">> Thanks in advance! Tracy <<Happy to assist.  EricR>>

Regal Angel HLLE 3/19/07 Hello Wet Web Crew. I hope all is well. <Quite well, thanks.> I wanted to provide some input (maybe beneficial to some reader out there is the same boat) about a recent experience I had with a Regal Angel and IMO a 'miracle product'. <I usually hate that term but I cheated and read ahead, and am in agreement.> About 6 weeks ago, I obtained a regal angel from a tank at a restaurant that I frequent. The little guy was not looking healthy and had the beginning signs of HLLE. I spoke to the owner of the establishment and provided my observations. I told him that these fish are difficult at best to care for. He explained to me that they have a company come in every two weeks to service that tanks and he would let them know. I went back a week later and the situation was the same. I spoke to the owner and asked if I could take the fish. He agreed and I went the next day (before opening) and got the fish. <Good for you and the owner.>  I brought him home and placed him in QT for 3 weeks. <Good to hear.>  Initially, I could not get him to eat anything (I believe this also to be the problem at the restaurant). I tried Mysis, frozen angel formula, Nori, flakes, Formula products, fresh shrimp, clams, and squid. He would not eat anything. He would pick at LR, but that is about it. I was out of options, until I was cleaning out a cabinet where I store my dry products and came across some New Life Spectrum Marine Formula pellets. I think that these were about a year old, as I had not been feeding them to any of my tanks at the time. I had nothing to lose at this point and dropped a few in the QT tank. I watched them sink to the bottom and the regal was uninterested. I came back a while later, and noticed that they were gone. I dropped a few more in the tank and the regal went nuts. I started feeding him 3 times a day with the pellets. He was doing so well on the pellets, that I started feeding all of my tanks the pellets. He has now been in my 210 gal main display tank for 3 weeks now and is doing awesome. His color has returned, no signs of HLLE, and he is now eating Cyclop-eeze along with his pellets. Aside form that, all of my fish never looked so good.  IMO, the New Life Spectrum line is absolutely amazing stuff. This food should be a staple for anyone who owns a marine tank period. I have also started feeding my sun polyps the small fish formula and they seem to love it also. This stuff is truly incredible. I hope that someone from the New Life Company reads this. They should be proud of this product. Best Regards, Dean Oliver <I agree, I really love this food.  All our tanks, both fresh and salt water get this line.  Makes a great staple food, some even claim to feed it exclusively, although I still won't go quite that far.  But don't minimize your work either, the QTing allowed the fish a chance to start eating which would not have happened if competing with tankmates.  Congratulations on your success with this difficult fish and thanks for sharing your story.> <Chris>

Re: Cuban hogfish and other questions... HLLE issues    1/31/07 Thanks for the reply. Do you think I should go ahead and place the hogfish in the 46 gal reef tank? He was placed in the 29 gal so I could keep a close eye on him. Eventually after he becomes more boisterous I will transfer him into the 120 gal reef tank. <I would do this straight-away... You are aware of the possibility of a Bodianus species consuming crustaceans et al. I take it> The fish's lateral line seems slightly exposed from about the middle of his body the base of his tail. Should I be worried? <Mmm, no... you should be aware, pro-active... could very well be neuromast destruction/HLLE beginnings> I have a Passer Angle <Angel> fish that developed hole in the head (which is now healing fine) it seemed like a day after I placed him in this 46 gal tank. He was in there to fortify before going into the 120. <Good plan> Does the erosion take place that fast <Can> or do you think it could have taken place in the quarantine tank and just went unnoticed? Thanks again and it is truly an honor to hear from you. Chad <Mmm, and you. Bob Fenner>

HLLE in Fish Other than Surgeonfishes, Not the Happiest Place on Earth.. for a Fish.   1/30/07 Hi! <Hello there, Mich with you today.> Just returned from a trip last week to Orlando and was wondering about the health of 2 systems I visited. First was at Epcot, there I noticed in one of the buildings (In Nemo and Friends) which housed a huge aquarium that many of the fishes did not looked very healthy. <Sad.> Most of the fishes I saw, including yellowtail snappers, grunts and others, looked like suffering HLLE. The faces looked badly eroded and I was curious to know if in fact those kinds of fishes suffered from HLLE, I believed not. <Yes it is possible.  HLLE most commonly affects tangs and angels, but can be seen in other species in captivity.> Other thing I noticed was that the fins were badly damaged too. <A shame.> I also visited Rain Forest Café at Downtown Disney and although the systems looked better, I also noted the condition on some of the fishes there including Tangs and other species. Have any of you being there recently? <Unfortunately, no.> Can HLLE affect any species of fish in aquariums. <Any may be too broad of a word here, but it can affect many different species in captivity.  -Mich> <<RMF concurs... the fishes in these systems are poster children for HLLE>>

HLLE Iodine Dosing Question... Hello Bob,     I hope I may be able to ask you a question? <Sure... you just did> I have a Blue Tang that I believe is developing HLLE.  I was reading your FAQ's and noted that it is recommended to soak the food intended for the fish in an Iodine supplement. <Mmm, actually... better to use an overall vitamin/appetite stimulant complex... Iodine is only part of a possible treatment scenario... and makes foods rather unpalatable... try it... You won't like it> I purchased "Kent Marine Concentrated Iodine" shown in this link: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=4820&Ntt=iodine&Ntk=All&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Np=1&pc=1&N=2004&Nty=1     It doesn't state anywhere on the bottle what the recommended dosage should be if used as a food supplement.  Is this a good Iodine supplement or would you recommend something else?  What dosage would you recommend if I would be soaking the fish food in it over-night (drops per cube of frozen)?  Thank you for your assistance in this matter. Robert Miele <You could try a drop... but I would look to other means... Have you read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and the linked FAQs files above? Bob Fenner>

Coral Beauty Dx HLLE Rx multiple approaches   1/6/07 Hello Everyone, <Hi Carol, Mich with you today.> I just came across your website tonight and thought you might be able to help.  I have had my Coral Beauty Angel for about 6 months now.  Right after I got it, the new Flame Angel got pop-eye and while treating for pop-eye the Blue Tang got Ich.   <Are you familiar with quarantine procedures?  If not please read here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm  > Over the course of the next few weeks we lost several fish. <Sorry for your loses.> I got the tank, treatments and fish under control and have looking good water-wise for about 3 months.  The only problem left now is with my Coral Beauty.  At the end of the Ich, when the other fish either died or got better, it developed white divots around its eyes and down either side of its body.  His appetite and behavior has not changed.  It seems perfectly healthy, except for these divots.  I have asked 3 saltwater fish stores in my area and no body has heard of anything likes this.  Can you tell me what it might be and what I can do to get my fish beautiful again?   <Does look like HLLE Head and Lateral Line Erosion.  Is common in tangs and angels.  HLLE is linked with poor water quality, nutritional deficiencies, and the protozoan Octomita (Hexamita necatrix.  "Stray voltage" has also been anecdotally associated with HLLE.  To try to improve the health of your beauty, you will want to make sure you are keeping on top of you water changes, make sure your tank is grounded, to eliminate any stray voltage, and try supplementing your feedings with a vitamin supplement  (vitamin C and vitamin D especially) such as Selcon.   Steamed broccoli has also been used to successfully treat HLLE.  You can also read more here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs2.htm and here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs3.htm > My tank is a 75 gallon fish only that has been set up for 3 years. Thank you for all your help and time, <Hope this gives you a place to start.  Good luck!  -Mich> Carol

Coral Beauty HLLE?    7/1/06 Hi, question for you. <Hello John> I currently have a mid size coral beauty in my quarantine system.  I purchase him 16 days ago from a LFS.  While in the QT he has developed a small patch (approx the size of a match head) on his L side near his lateral line.  The area appears to be pale in nature and irregularly circular.  At first I thought he may have just bumped against something in the tank but now watching it over the past 15 days.  It appears to have grown ever so slightly.  Also yesterday I noticed a very tiny pale patch on the R side of his head.  Is this the beginning of HLLE? <Possibly.> I feed sparsely (given that he is in a QT) brine shrimp and Omega sea veggie flakes once a day each.   <A poor diet such as this can certainly aid in further development of HLLE, if that is indeed what it is.> The QT is a 15 gal long w/AquaClear 200 filter and carbon pouch.  Airstone w/pump, heater, small powerhead and PVC piping.   1 gal water is changed daily.  If this is HLLE should I attempt to treat it before placing him in my main aquarium or place move him in after he finishes out his QT time figuring the better diet and water quality available in my larger system will fix him. <You've just answered your own question here.  Better vitamin (Selcon, Vita-Chem) enriched diet and excellent water quality are the main factors in reversing HLLE.  There is no medication, in my opinion, that will effectively reverse this.  Do read FAQ's on this also. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm> My main system is a 65 gal w/20gal sump, live rock.  Thanks for your comments,      <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> John Help with HLLE sick fish   6/16/06 Hi Crew, <Lynne> I have a bi-color blenny that I've had for 1 year now. He's usually a very active fish and eats heartily. I feed him Spirulina flakes, algae that comes in a sheet that I clip in the tank and he also eats meaty things I feed my two clownfish. For the last 3 weeks or so he is hiding all of the time now and swimming out in the open less often, eating less and he seems to have a whitish area that started behind one eye then a split opened up in between his eyes and now a larger white opening is on the top of his head behind his eyes. I think he has HLLE based on descriptions I've read on disease. <Mmm, maybe> I always seem to have a low PH 8.0 despite trying to raise the PH. I've recently changed the cartridges on my SpectraPure RO/DI filtration unit and I have been changing the water a lot to try to (1.) Get rid of a brown slime Cyano outbreak and some nuisance hair algae and (2) to try and help my blenny get better. I thought my water quality was good with Nitrates at <0.05 mg/l. I'm concerned that I may be too late as my blenny did not eat anything for the first time today. I want to try and feed him broccoli and dark, leafy lettuce but if he won't eat, how can he get better? <Mmm, I would try adding vitamins to meaty foods this and your other fish are taking> I'm really concerned and I don't want to lose him, am I too late??? <Never too late as long as the animal is still alive. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and the other FAQs files linked above in series... Do consider ways you can improve this environment, water quality. Bob Fenner>

Emperor Angel With HLLE - 06/01/2006 Hey guys!  What are the common causes of Head and Lateral Line Disease for Marine Angels?   <Primarily dietary deficiency....  Start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and note that though freshwater HLLE is often caused by Hexamita, in marine fishes, it's almost always nutritional.> I have a 4" Emperor with it and I am just racking my brains trying to find the cause.  Good thing is that he is healthy as a horse and has quite the appetite.   <Ah, good.> I have read that if I can find the cause and fix it that I can reverse its effect on the fish.  Is this true?   <To an extent, yes.> I have been feeding my Angel "Sally's San Francisco Bay Brand" frozen food for angel and butterfly.  He also gets Formula two, and on occasion brine shrimp plus and mysis shrimp.  I feed very generous amounts of red and green algae.  I have just today switched his Angel food with Hikari Mega Marine Angel frozen food.  It seemed to have more sponge in it.   <Try Ocean Nutrition's foods, too.> I also just today began soaking all the food in Zoe.   <I would switch this to Selco/Selcon and/or Vita-Chem.> It is not the water conditions.  I have awesome water quality.  Never any algae blooms, the tank is very mature.  The ph though is a little on the low side, 8.1... <.... not awesome.> it has always been this way no matter what I do or what I try (my husbands tank has the very same issue).   <Please try to get to the bottom of this issue, raise to 8.3.> I have had my fish for a very long time and the Angel is the only one showing ill health. That's why I suspected it may be a dietary issue?   <Almost definitely.> Don't know if this has anything to do with it, but my stocking list is 1- 6" Naso, a Sailfin Tang, 6 blue-green Chromis, an algae blenny, a flame angel, a pair of Sebae clowns and a black and silver cardinal.  They are in a 6' long 150 gallon tank.  They seem pretty tolerant of one another.   <I see no real problems with this mix; good choices.> Any help would be appreciated. <If you don't already, consider having live rock in the aquarium, or if your rock is more than a few years old, consider switching some/much of it out for new.  This new rock would first need to be cured, of course, before adding to the established tank.> Thanks, The Melendez Family P.S.  How do I check for a reply?  I am not sure what this would be posted under or how to get there from the home page.  (Yes...I have to be spoon-fed lol). <Will be posted.... under HLLE FAQs of all places!  Also on the dailies for a day, also replied to your email address.  We try to cover our bases (grin)> Thanks again. <Glad to be of service.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> HLLE  - 05/19/2006 Love your site! <Thank you> I have 2 fish that have lateral line. A Fox Face 5" and a Sail-fin  Tang 7". There in a 200gal with almost 200pounds of LR. I installed a 40 gallon refugium last month with 3 types of Caulerpa, prolifera, sertularoides, and racemosa. I also started giving them Vita Chem every other day. It's not getting any worse but it's not getting any better. What else can I do? I was told by the LPS to give them fresh water dips but I cant catch them (3 of pieces of LR weigh 50 pounds) <Do not see what good the freshwater dip will do as this is usually related to diet/water quality issues.> Here's a list of my filters. The new 40 gal refugium (It's above the 200) , 3 XP3 canisters (each one is filled with Eheim Substrat and has 2 bags of Chemi-pure, one bag of Filstar's Bio-chem Zorb, and one has 2 bag of Phosphate & Silicate Magnet), 2 Emperor 400's, Merlin Plus 120 Fluidized bed filter (it feeds in to the refugium) and a SeaClone Protein Skimmer 150. I clean my filters once a month and  I do a 32 gallon (my tub size) water change every other week. <Don't think the phosphate/silicate magnet along with the fluidized bed filter is necessary any longer.  Let the refugium naturally take care of this.  Since the refugium was recently installed, give it a chance to work.  The addition of Miracle Mud to the refugium has reversed HLLE in many experiments that were carried out.  Do consider using this product.  Also look at the FAQ's here and see what others have done/suggested.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm Read this article also.   http://www.ecosystemaquarium.com/html/hlle.html> Thanks for your input <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Matt Owens

HLLE Or Just Stress - 04/17/2006 Hi Josh. <Hello. I'm sorry if you've not received a response to this yet, it was in my box but I've been temporarily unable to help out here.> This isn't about electricity this time. My tank cycled finally and I went to the LFS to get a new fish. I chose a small Yellow Tang. I believe the environment is well suited for him (40 gal. long aquarium with wet dry filtration and protein skimming, plenty of LR). <A 40 will be too small in time.> I got him home, acclimated exceptionally well and sat down about a half hour later and noticed that part of his face by the gills and snout were white. <QT?> I researched and I diagnosed with Head and Lateral Line Erosion. <This is a small (as in young) fish, right? HLLE takes a long while to develop.> I don't know if he had it in the LFS. <You would have if it were the case. I don't think this is the problem.> Anyway, what could be the causes of this disease? <Uh...what did you research to diagnose this?> Could it be that he is just stressed with a new environment or had malnutrition from the LFS? <My money is on stress here.> I doubt there are copper or metals in the water because I have a drip tray pad to remove such. I also doubt the theory of stray voltage because almost all of the electrical equipment in the aquarium is under a 2 months old. <?> Practically new. I added a product called Novaqua to calm her down and protect skin. It's a skin protect and transportation related stress reducer. Any suggestions? <Don't dose anything else and wait. Continue to research HLLE as there is a real possibility that you may see it in the future if you don't start out right with this little guy.> Thanks
<Sure. - Josh>

White blotches on mid size Blue Face Angel   3/23/06 Love the site, and looked over it many times before submitting this inquiry. <Good> I have a 210 gallon with the double sump wet dry, protein skimmer, grounding probe, and UV going. The water quality is as such as I just measured it today: salinity is 1.019, <Too low...> ammonia is 0.0, nitrate is 10, nitrite is 0, and ph is 8.2 according to the 'Aquarium Pharmaceutical' kit I use. Fish roster includes: Australian Harlequin Tusk, green bird wrasse, 2 lookdowns (small), crosshatch trigger, blue face angel, zebra moray, squirrelfish, and powder blue tang. <Yikes... you need a much larger system...> They all eat a daily mixed diet of mysis, green and red lifeline, krill, angel formula, lancefish, mussel, romaine, <I'd skip the terrestrial greens... almost no food value, and trouble with pollution> cockle, and formula one. all soaked in Selcon daily except for the romaine. Attached are 2 pics of our 3.5-4 in Blue Face Angel which we've had for 3.5 months. As I read over your site, it looks like this could be HLLE (of just the head for right now) or a metamorphosis to becoming an adult. The LFS says it's most likely the latter b/c the fish is eating like a pig. It seems to be getting worse too and his skin on his face looks to be deteriorating. <Does look like HLLE... water quality issue here mainly... Though what you can/do read/seem okay...> Prior to this he was having those random white patches that would come and go on his body (literally within hours - it was a different picture. <Agreed... likely behavioral reaction... more neuronal, less hormonal... now switched> think it was that spook factor mentioned in your other write ups). What do you think this really is? <Is an erosive condition. I would raise your spg, do what you can with modifying the wet-dries (switching to refugium/s... or adding, tying a live sump in somewhere... Consider "live mud", macroalgal culture... and purposely add the Selcon to whatever foods this fish is taking> Thanks in advance for your time. Sincerely, Jason Chamberlain <Thank you for writing so thoroughly, clearly, with clear graphics, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Sohal Tang, HLLE   3/4/06 Bob, <James today> I have had a 7" Sohal Tang (which has been a great fish) in my FO 135ga. tank for about five years. I recently converted my tank from fish only to a reef tank (currently only have a Clown and a mix of inverts). During the conversion, I realized my Sohal Tang had HLLE. He only had  one pit but was showing other symptoms. I have read much on your site about HLLE and Sohal Tangs. After noticing that he had HLLE, I took him to the LFS (a very good one) so they could treat him and find him a home. I did not know for sure how to treat him and was not sure he would do good in a reef tank. They have treated him for about three to four weeks and he seems to have improved. The LFS said that I can get him back for no charges. I would to get him back, but want your opinion. Now that my tank setup (and water conditions) have improved greatly. Good protein skimmer/ W/D filter 25ga. sump/ 250lbs. live sand (about 3 1/2" to 4")/ 60 lbs. LR will add more slowly/ Nitrates very low now! Should he do alright in a reef tank? <Sure> If I change his diet (as directed on your site) and with improved water quality is it likely that his condition will reverse itself? <Does/can happen.  Weekly/Bi-weekly water changes are a must also.> Your site states that the salinity (for a Sohal Tang) should be kept near 1.025 , this is where I keep my FO tank. Should he adjust to a salinity of 1.022 (where my tank is now)? <Sure, just do it slowly.> Should I look for a younger and smaller Sohal Tang for my reef tank? <Better to keep what you have.> Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Kent

Sick fish, system... HLLE ignorance   2/13/06   I have a 65 gallon tank witch holds a Sailfin Tang, Koran Angel, Humahuma, Sixline wrasse & maroon clown. <... way too much...> All of the levels are good, the water quality checks out fine.  My Koran angel's face has turned white, <Mmm, no... HLLE... insert in the Google search tool on WWM...> I thought it may be fungus, but the medication I bought had no effect. Now my Sailfin is starting to show the same signs on his face. All the fish are eating and active. They do not appear to be breathing hard, however I have no idea what my angel has & fear soon it will spread to all my fish. I have attached a picture & hope you can help! <Your fishes are exhibiting symptoms of neuromast degeneration... due to poor nutrition and water quality... Additionally, they are way too crowded... Read, fix these. Bob Fenner>

Marine HLLE  02/12/06 Hey, I have a question for you guys on how to treat hole in the head, I've looked around but everyone seems to have a different opinion on the situation. I'm not sure quite how my fish managed to get this, as I do take good care of them with water changes once every two weeks (with gravel vaccing). Two angels have it, there are currently four angels in the tank with some others, <Stress may be a factor...> I'm very worried about it spreading to the other fish, is it contagious? Please help! Thank You, Jeromee <... posted on WWM. Almost always mostly nutritional... can be improved by way of feeding, improving water quality (marines drink their environment)... Read. Bob Fenner> HLLE Question   2/9/06 Hi guys. Great site and thanks for all of the help that the FAQ's have provided me with over the last year. <Welcome> My situation is this. My tank is 90 gallons and has 90 pounds of live rock, a 45 gallon refugium/sump with Chaeto, and a remote unlit 30 gallon DSB tank with 10 inches of Aragonite.  Everything has been running for a year now and I have 3 Tank raised clowns (2 inches long), a Hippo Tang (3 inches) an Emperor Angel (4 inches) that is still a juvenile and 2 cleaner shrimp. I am aware of the need for a larger tank as these fish grow and have purchased all equipment (Skimmer Bullet 3, Aquazone Plus 200 Ozonizer  etc) with a larger capacity tank in mind. I will be putting them in a 300 gallon 96 x 24 x 30 tank in the next 6 - 8 months. <Nice> I do weekly 20% water changes. Ammonia, Nitrates, and Nitrites are measured weekly and all read 0. ORP is 375 and PH is 8.30. I get very little skimmate from the Bullet 3 so I recently added the Coralife 220 gallon skimmer as a backup. (It is still breaking in) All fish were quarantined from 4 to 6 weeks before being placed in the Main Tank and the latest addition (The Angel) has been in the Main Tank for 3 months now. The angel does chase the Tang a bit, but sometimes I think the tang baits him.  He will swim right up beside the Angel, then take off when the Angel goes for him. <Natural... and if no damage...> Last week I noticed the rapid onset of what looks like HLLE in my Angel and Tang. It came on VERY quickly (3 days at the most). They both have what looks like many small holes on their face, and tang has small dots running in a perfectly curved line down the black stripe from front to back. I could not believe how fast it seems to have happened. <Can> I feed Red, Purple or Green Nori once per day, Ocean Nutrition's Formula 2, Angel Formula, Mysis, and Spirulina Pellets alternated daily and soaked in SELCON. I have ordered 30 lbs of Miracle Mud for the refugium, which should arrive next week. <This should all "do it"> Is there anything else I may be missing? <Mmm, no... not really. There are other aspects of nutrition, water quality we might delve into, but nothing overt pops out here> The display currently has about 4 inches of Aragonite in it with Nassarius Snails to keep it stirred. I am thinking of slowly removing this sand and leaving about 1/2 inch max for aesthetics. Given my remote DSB, do you think this is a good idea? <Yes... IMO this is what I would do> While I have no algae problems, I noticed that in some paces where the sand gets blown about, that the substrate has fused together and is no longer loose. <Best to periodically get in and stir parts of this with a wooden, or plastic dowel, net handle...> Would removing this sand help with water quality and perhaps the HLLE? <Yes, likely will help...> Any advise would be appreciated. Keith <Takes a while (weeks, months) to effect reversal of HLLE effects, but your planned changes should do this. Bob Fenner> Suspected case of Hole in the head disease   1/18/06 Hi there, <Good morning> I have a Royal Gramma in my QT for about 6 weeks now.  Starting the second week, its head and right gill started to develop small white patches.  It looks like someone has peeled its scales.  A few days later, I noticed that its right gill has a hole.  It looks like someone has poked it. <Good description> However, it is the only one in the QT so there is no one bugging it.  As of today, the hole is still there but the fish is still eating great and swimming about.   By the way, this Royal Gramma takes only flakes.  It ignores all the Mysis shrimps. The QT is bare bottom where all parameters are good.  The fish is not scratching at all.  I am having a dilemma whether I should leave it in the QT longer or I should put it to the display tank.  What is your best advice? Thanks in advance, Aaron. <You ask the definitive question... whether to risk further necrosis from the stress, variance in quarantine, as opposed to the risks of moving this Gramma... There is no one but you who can decide... but I have moved many organisms before finishing quarantine out of the same concern. Bob Fenner> Head Line Lateral Erosion, no.. Head & Lateral Line Erosion (in) Tangs = Poor Husbandry - 10/24/05 Hello, <Hi Joe> I am emailing you because I believe that I have a yellow tang with head and lateral line erosion.  <Ok>  This is about the third time this has happened to me in the past couple of months. The tangs are healthy when I buy them, then they turn red around their eyes and lateral line, their fins begin to erode, and after about three months they die.  <Something environmental (your tank) is not right, either sub-par water quality, stray electrical voltages or poor variety/improper diet.>  I feed the tang Spirulina pellet food, mysis shrimp, and Formula 2. Is there a problem with this diet?  <Actually it's pretty good but I would try to increase the variety, maybe some dried Nori or a nutritional supplement like Selcon.>  The other tank inhabitants include a Volitans lionfish, a Maculosus angel, a Soldierfish, and a dogface puffer.  <This assortment of 'messy' makes me tend to believe you may have nutrient problems which can lead to t he poor water quality and thus HLLE. Be sure to keep on regular water changes.>  The Maculosus seems ok, but he has a small indentation/hole just above each side of his eyes. This has been there for about six months and has not gotten worse, so I am not worried about this.  <If its in more than one specimen its definitely environmental, see above and please keep an eye on this specimen as well.>  The yellow tank {tang?} has reddish pitting around his eye, and his lateral line is very distinguished against the rest of his body. He just developed some red blotching all over his body today.  <The red spots could be anything from skin trauma to a secondary/parasitic infection from the HLLE, it's hard to say without seeing the fish. Do a search on WWM re: Tang Disease.>  He continues to eat vigorously and act healthy. No fish are picking on him either. Any help on how I can reverse the HLLE would be greatly appreciated. <Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm.> Thanks, <You are welcome.> Joe Marano <Adam J.> 

3 months still with HLLE disease on Pac Blue Tang  9/21/05 HI! Thanks so much for your help. We have a 100g tank with 1 clown, 4 Chromis, 2 cleaner shrimp, 2 large snails. We had gotten a Pacific Blue tang. He's of small=medium size. He was lively in the store.  We brought him home and he immediately hid under a rock where he stayed for 2 days, all the way UNDER between 2 rocks, we thought he was dead one morning and had to poke at him (only to discover he was alive) to get him to move.  He eventually started coming out when people were in the room.  He always ate though.  But always swam away and hid under his favorite rock as you approached the tank. Well then he started looking funny. The yellow tang we had at the time, got an infection, septicemia possibly secondary to some protozoan disease. We tried all kinds of things only to end in disaster each time. We fully and accurately diagnosed it too late ( all the literature on the net and in books- we have tons- is difficult to navigate in terms of disease identification. I've even pored over your site even! No real good pictures, and when there's something secondary going on it makes it really hard. Anyway, back to the blue tang, he wasn't looking so good either- we were now adding erythromycin coated Nori, Melafix, Stress Zyme, Vitamin C powdered- food grade -buffered ,and  good filtration and water changes and we lost our friendly Yellow Tang, now it was time to move on and try to save our quirky Blue Tang- we finally learned of HLLE and because he was "so far gone" so to speak- it was hard to tell. All of the bright shiny blue on his face is gone, he was major wide streaks of color gone on his body laterally. His tail was sort of mealy but still yellow. (I know you must think we suck at this, but honestly we care and are deeply disturbed by all of this) By now, our electrician came over with a fancy meter and measured 35 volts zipping along randomly in the water! wow huh?! So we grounded the tank and bang! zero! and another bang! the blue tang came out of his rock- all swimming around like a dolphin! there was 3 of us standing right there next to the tank. He never would do that before, anyhoo, (I'm getting to my question- I promise) we've since then added more Nori to diet, Formula One frozen foods, better water, and more changes. Oh, and added Ecosystem Aquarium- 'Fish Solution' (minerals, iodine, strontium, magnesium etc) This was back in early August, he got livelier, ate more, and the blue he does have definitely got brighter, good thing is the blue on him is centralized around his major organs, so I feel he's at least not getting worse and probably "feeling" ok, but his color every where else- is just not getting better, - I was trying to convince myself for a few weeks that he was, but I just couldn't tell because I was obsessed with it. But my friends who don't see him everyday like I do, have said, that sorry no, he's not getting much better, except his color he does have is good, and his tail is better. So (thanks for bearing with me) how do we get him better? What ELSE can we do? We've considered getting rid of the tank because we cant stand losing these fish, and its not fair to them if we can't heal them when sick. So what can we do? Id really appreciate some advice. So what do you think? Thanks so much!! Best to you- Kathryn <Kathryn, sorry to hear about your tang.  In my opinion, there is no better filter system for keeping tangs/angels and preventing HLLE than Ecosystems Miracle Mud filter.  I've posted a link to their site.  There are many testimonials from prominent people in this hobby that swear by this system.  Keep in mind, it's my opinion and what I would do if I decided to keep tangs and angels.  http://search.hp.netscape.com/hp/boomframe.jsp?query=ecosystem+filter&page=1&offset=0&result_url=redir%3Fsrc%3Dwebsearch%26requestId%3Df65ed7e8fd0cd8f%26clickedItemRank%3D1%26userQuery%3Decosystem%2Bfilter%26clickedItemURN%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.ecosystemaquarium.com%252Fhtml%252FComparison.html%26invocationType%3D-%26fromPage%3Dnsispclient%26amp%3BampTest%3D1&remove_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ecosystemaquarium.com%2Fhtml%2FComparison.html Good luck.  James (Salty Dog)> Yellow Tang Problem  9/19.5/05 I have 2 yellow tail, 2 convict and 1 blue damsel fish, 2 monos, 2 clown, a spotted hawk fish and a yellow tang. All are doing well with the exception of the Yellow Tang.  He is eating well and has a varied diet of Seaweed Salad, Flakes, pellets and brine shrimp.  The problem is that along his lateral line, around his mouth and eyes it is no longer yellow.  What do i do to fix this? >>>Greetings, Sounds to me like it could be the beginning of lateral line erosion, or "hole in the head" as it is sometimes called. Dietary deficiencies are normally to blame, so I would boost his diet with a vitamin supplement such as Selcon or similar product. Also, macro algae, and algae derived foods should be his PRIMARY diet, forget the brine shrimp. This fish eats algae exclusively in the wild. Good luck Jim<<<

Are there other diseases that look like crypt but are not crypt ?  9/17/05 Dear Bob,     I have a question re: diseases that may look like marine crypt but are not.  As you know I have recently had a crypt outbreak in my display which is successfully being treated with copper in QT's and allowing the display to lie fallow.      I am noticing that my large Naso tang has been developing what looks like white-ish pimples that look larger than crypt  over the head, gill opercula, and the body.  He is in QT with a purple and a powder blue ( 55 gal )  I noted these lesions when the fish was in the display and they looked like crypt. The fish also had smaller lesions salt grain sized that I definitely thought were crypt.  Now after 10 days in copper at therapeutic levels in a 55 gal QT I see that many of these areas are unchanged. The areas around the head definitely look like HLLE.  ( the raised white areas have been followed by areas of depigmentation and mild tissue erosion ) The dusting of crypt on the fins is "gone" While in copper all fish are doing great except for the fact that the tangs have developed a touch of HLLE.  Could I be dealing with something other than ich on the Naso ? <Possibly, but not likely. Copper use is effective against most all external parasites... Very likely this is "just" a reaction of your tang to copper, stress...> Could this be HLLE ?  Can :HLLE effect the body of the fish also ? <Yes and yes> These areas resemble crypt but are larger.  Fins and gills (probably) are spared. I am using Cupramine with SeaChem test kit as recommended.  The fish are eating like pigs.  Copper levels tested twice daily with addition of Cupramine to keep level at .5 mg/L.  If these areas do not heal after 3 weeks of copper could one assume that we are not dealing with crypt and would it be safe to return the fish to the display? <Yes>      An unrelated question.  How long would you recommend that Live Rock, and skunk cleaner shrimp be QT'd before addition to an established display in a FOWLR tank ? <A couple of weeks. Take a look at these "pimples"... do they appear bilaterally symmetrical? On both sides of the fish in about the same area? Is likely "neuromast degeneration" (aka HLLE)... will hopefully "cure" on the fish's return to the main system. Bob Fenner> Thanks Jimmy

Persistent Hexamita/HLLE  9/9/05 Hello Crew !!!! <Scott> First let me start by saying what a wonderful wealth of knowledge you and your crew are!!! They are there at those times when you most need them. <Ah, yes> Anyway, I own and operate a custom aquarium design, installation and maintenance company in the Ventura County area.  I've been in the hobby for almost 20 years now and in business for 5 and  I've seen just about everything. <Wait a while...> From 1998 to 2001 I worked in Aquatic Research at Aquaria, Inc. (a.k.a. Marineland) under Dr. Tim Hovanec and was taught very well.  So, as I hope you can see, I'm not a fly by night operation and only insist on the best care for my clients!   <Oh, yes... was contemporaneous with Tim at SDSU... some changes going on there now... am wondering what B. Sherman would/does think...> Now for the problem, about 16 months ago I received a call from a someone who needed help taking care of their existing 500 gallon room-divider, saltwater, fish-only aquarium.  Apparently their current "fish guy" wasn't working out.  Since then, I have had a persistent problem with Hexamita/HLLE. <Mmm... from what cause... is it really Octomita (necatrix)... nutritional (usually), water quality (second most commonly...)>   The water quality was less than perfect when I started, but quickly got it back to center.  I have tried everything that I know of up to and including removing all fish (no small feat) and quarantining them for several weeks and letting the tank go fallow.  I have only lost one French Angel to this disease but I cant seem to get rid of it.  Every time I heal them up and put them back in the problem comes back.  I visit this tank 3 times a week and make sure that no overfeeding is occurring and that water quality remains prime.  The tank is fish-only, like i said, and has an old school undergravel filter with 3 Ocean Clear Canister Filters (1 Carbon, 1 UV with filter pleat, and 1 filter pleat only).  I am starting to wonder if it has something to do with what lies beneath those undergravel filter plates. <Indirectly, likely so> This tank has been through some tough times, much to the chagrin of my clients, and I cant imagine going to them and telling them that I have to completely tear it down. I've read tons of literature regarding this and have done many changes including attempting to remove stray voltage, feeding various types of properly balanced diets, and performing regular maintenance.  Any other suggestions would be wonderful. Thanks a ton. Scott C. Wirtz Owner Blue Marlin Aquatic Creations <Mmm, the easiest, most assured route to go would be to add a "mud filter" in an attached sump (really) for improving water quality, providing useful biological molecules... You could try supplementing foods (Selcon, Zoe, Microvit...), even a one time dose of Metronidazole/Flagyl if you believe (I would check with smears, a scope) this is rooted in pathogenic protozoa... (I don't). If it were me, my service account (did this for nineteen years as well), I would go with the added sump, mud... lighting and macro-algae there (my choice? Gracilaria). Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Persistent Hexamita/HLLE  9/10/05 Thanks for the info, Bob. Unfortunately there is absolutely zero room for an added sump.   <Even hanging something in the inside of the tank?> You know these high end clients.... they need all the room the can get for their precious wines and the like. <Oh yes... I also need this... for our "two buck Chuck" vinos> Did I mention that this is a room divider tank between their main entrance and their sunken bar?   <Negative> Well, it is. I currently have them feeding Formula One and Two pellets soaked in Selcon and Zoe and then allowed to dry in addition to sheets of dried seaweed on a clip.  They don't want to touch or smell anything "offensive".  The only water quality parameter that I am having trouble with is temperature.  The tank regularly runs at 85 due to 3 T-2 pumps, very quiet but very hot with no chiller.  If i convince them to change out those pumps to Iwaki or the like and get the temp down, do you think that would help? <Some, yes> As an experienced service provider, am sure you can imagine how much difficulty it is to get people to change their ways.  Especially if it costs money !!!!! <Oh yes... but, the choice of improving their livestock's health, appearance... given this clear choice? Another possibility... the water you use for changes? Do you haul it in? If this was run through a sump with the macro-algae and mud... this would be of great benefit. Bob Fenner> Scott C. Wirtz Owner Blue Marlin Aquatic Creations

Re: Persistent Hexamita/HLLE  9/11/05 Bob, <Scott> The replacement water I use is first run through a Culligan Carbon Tank and then a Culligan Water Softener to prolong the life of my RO membrane, then it runs through a Kent RO/DI unit with a 5 micron prefilter and a 1 micron prefilter in place of the normal carbon block.  Currently am getting the TDS down from 250 ppm to approximately <5 ppm.  I then use Tropic Marin and allow it to sit in 300 gallon batches for approximately 24-48 hours while aerating, depending on client load.  How would I go about running this water through a sump with Macro Algae at this stage? <You'd have to have a sump added to the process and recirculate this one customers water through it, over the mud...> I haven't heard of doing this with replacement water before.  Although I don't have a problem with any of my other clients, this sounds like it would benefit all of my tanks. Thanks again Scott C. Wirtz Owner Blue Marlin Aquatic Creations <Yes, would. Bob Fenner>

Koran with HLLE 8/19/05 Hi, I have one question for you that I could not find in the FAQ's for HLLE. I have enclosed a picture of my Koran Angel, so you can determine that this is 100% my problem.  I have two tanks a 125g reef up for over 8 years, no problems or issues with this tank, corals, or the oldest of fish.  My second tank is a FOWLR 90 gallon.  I think since I put a calcium reactor on my 125, I have been ignoring the water quality KH and calcium, except for weekly 5 gallon water changes. <Larry, a 12 gallon per week water change would be minimum.  You've probably answered your own question.  Although the fish doesn't appear to have HLLE, it is suffering from a vitamin deficiency.  Ten percent weekly water changes, food soaked in Selcon and smaller feedings more often will help your Koran.  Do not mix iodine with food.  This isn't meant for internal use.  Also be sure to vacuum the substrate during water changes.  You don't mention a protein skimmer.  If you're not using one, I would invest in one.> You can see this tank has too much hair algae, probably a result of me overfeeding.  I feed daily Julian Sprung's Sea Veggies, then for the second feeding I change from Mysis, bits of frozen store bought raw shrimp, Hikari Marine A, and Omega One Marine flakes to vary their diet.    I noticed about three months ago that my Koran's face started to fade, and now I can see the lesions forming around the top of his head.  His fins along the top don't look as good as they did 3 months ago, which makes we wonder about the HLLE.  <HLLE generally shows a sunk in head just past the eyes.  Don't believe this is your problem.....yet.  James (Salty Dog)> I also have a Purple Tank, Coris Gaimard, and Clown trigger, all looking very healthy.  (Yes I know 4 fish like these in a 90g is too small, so I'm moving up shortly).<GOOD> I bought all the fish as juveniles, so I could take a couple of years before I need to move up to a larger tank.  I got the Trigger from my local store when he was not much more than ½ an inch, I told them they should never bring in Triggers that small as they are almost 100% going to die.  He was my personal project in a hospital tank for three months where I hand fed him bits of food, silversides mostly until he was strong enough to go in with the others.  Sorry I digress. The tank has always been grounded with a probe in the main system and one in the sump.  The sump is in a location where is would be difficult (no impossible) to raise Macro Algae, and I probably will start this up.  I just purchased Selcon yesterday and will begin to provide that.  So here is my one question'¦..Iodine.  I want to try soaking this food in a solution, but the FAQ's I found refer to the watered down solutions like Seachem at 0.8%. I have a Lugol's 5% solution, so soaking the food in this will cause issues with diatom blooms and probably much more.  How would I weaken the mixture? Would I just put one drop in say an 8oz bottle of RO water??  Then use this to dip the food in? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Koran with HLLE 8/20/05 Hi, I have one question for you that I could not fins in the FAQ's for HLLE. I have enclosed a picture of my Koran Angel, so you can determine that this is 100% my problem. <Appears so> I have two tanks a 125g reef up for over 8 years, no problems or issues with this tank, corals, or the oldest of fish.  My second tank is a FOWLR 90 gallon.  I think since I put a calcium reactor on my 125, I have been ignoring the water quality KH and calcium, except for weekly 5 gallon water changes. You can see this tank has too much hair algae, probably a result of me overfeeding.  I feed daily Julian Sprung's Sea Veggies, then for the second feeding I change from Mysis, bits of frozen store bought raw shrimp, Hikari Marine A, and Omega One Marine flakes to vary their diet.    I noticed about three months ago that my Koran's face started to fade, and now I can see the lesions forming around the top of his head.  His fins along the top don't look as good as they did 3 months ago, which makes we wonder about the HLLE. I also have a Purple Tang, Coris gaimard, and Clown trigger, all looking very healthy. <The last is a major source of stress...> (Yes I know 4 fish like these in a 90g is too small, so I'm moving up shortly). I bought all the fish as juveniles, so I could take a couple of years before I need to move up to a larger tank.  I got the Trigger from my local store when he was not much more than ½ an inch, I told them they should never bring in Triggers that small as they are almost 100% going to die.  He was my personal project in a hospital tank for three months where I hand fed him bits of food, silversides mostly until he was strong enough to go in with the others.  Sorry I digress. <Okay> The tank has always been grounded with a probe in the main system and one in the sump. <...> The sump is in a location where is would be difficult (no impossible) to raise Macro Algae, and I probably will start this up.   <Could be cultured in the main system> I just purchased Selcon yesterday and will begin to provide that.  So here is my one question'¦.. Iodine.  I want to try soaking this food in a solution, but the FAQ's I found refer to the watered down solutions like Seachem at 0.8%. I have a Lugol's 5% solution, so soaking the food in this will cause issues with diatom blooms and probably much more. How would I weaken the mixture? <Dilution in water...> Would I just put one drop in say an 8oz bottle of RO water??  Then use this to dip the food in? <Yes... though vitamins, improving water quality are very likely vastly more important here... is there a possibility of moving the Koran into the other/reef set-up?> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Larry
<Mmm, only to urge you to action... sooner... Bob Fenner>

Re: Koran with HLLE 8/21/05 Hi Bob, thanks for the response.  Yes there is no reason why I couldn't move the Koran into my Reef tank.   <Ah, good> I have both hard and soft corals, shrimp, Clams, elegance etc that I thought he might nip on.  If there is a chance he will be OK, I would prefer to have him in my reef, and it will take the stress off him no doubt. Larry <I would move this fish then... improved water quality (sea fishes "drink" the water they are in) is the single most important factor in reversing the erosive trend/condition here. Bob Fenner> Re: Koran with HLLE 8/22/05 Hi Bob, sorry one last question.  You say improve water quality on my 90g. This was one issue I thought I had down pat.  I do weekly 5 gallon changes in the 90g, have an Aqua C urchin pro skimming about 4 or 5 cups of skimmate per week. <This much skimmate is actually an indication of poor water quality...> I know I said how well I feed, maybe that's the down side.  These fish are really well fed... possibly too well.  Can you clarify on the water quality just so I'm 100% sure what you mean? <Better that you read (there's a bunch to state, re-state) on WWM re>   The 125 has never given me a problem, the only thing I see I do differently is when I added the calcium reactor to the 125, about 6 months ago, I stopped monitoring DKH and calcium in the 90g, so if this is what you mean I can fix this easily, the DKH is 8.5 low and I'm sure that calcium, which I'll test tonight is around 325..... <These values are fine> The 125 with the reactor has always been solid at DKH 13, and calcium 380. Thanks  Larry <There are many "other" untested, not easily testable variables, qualities of biological systems. I suspect you have low Redox... best to shoot for "overall improvement"... through the use of refugiums, added volume, DSBs, live macro-algae culture, reverse daylight photoperiods in biological sumps... These can be delved into through perusing WWM. Bob Fenner>

HLLE QUESTION 8/2/05 Hello, I have a Tenecor 180 gal FO setup with 2 wet dry filters moving 1200 gal per hour, Berlin turbo skimmer w/ ozone, 4 lbs of Tri-Base Carbon from Hyatt labs in one of the sumps, 10 Gal refugium in the other sump, Aqua UV 57w sterilizer. 10% aged H2O changes every 2 weeks, Trace elements dripped in daily to keep up with water evaporation. Tank is grounded.  Tank is meticulously kept but has some diatom algae. ( the skimmer has been modified by adding a limewood airstone don the middle and to the base and extending the neck and the collection cup to twice normal size Tank Does receive some sunlight.     Stocked w/ Large Naso Tang 4 yr, Purple Tang 9 yr, Fiji Foxface 4 yr, 3 clownfish 9 yr.  All fish have been doing great except that the Foxface has bad HLLE for 3 years and the Purple Tang has moderate HLLE but all fish act normal ( i.e. eat like pigs cluster to tank top when I approach mild fish to fish aggression ) The tail fins of the tang and Foxface look a bit ragged but not infected.  The Perculas have actually spawned in this tank !!     I feed 2-3x daily combination Nori w/ Selcon, Ocean Nutrition Form 2, Spectrum Thera A+ with Boyd Vita Chem, Spirulina flake..     I recently added a beautiful Emperor Angel after 4 weeks of quarantine but 4 fish got a slight case of crypt ( first outbreak in 4 years ).  I decided to use hyposalinity to treat he display.  Inverts i.e. snails hermits & plants were removed.  I lowered salinity over 4 days to 1.010 and it has worked great.     I noticed that as I was lowering the salinity with RO water brought to a pH of 8.3 HLLE actually improved and there was noticeable fin regeneration in the tang !  Over the years I have noted that the only thing that has had any effect on the HLLE is an improvement for 5-7 days after water changes and "control" of the HLLE since trace elements were dripped in.  Addition of Iodine does not do much other than make the algae bloom.  If I skip a water change things seem to worsen. <Yes>     Once I brought the salinity down to 1.010 and went to every 2 week water changes I noted now the angel is developing early signs of HLLE.     Tank chemistry is great with pH 8.3 Nitrates less than 20 no nitrite or ammonia.  I am planning on adding 90 Lbs of cured LR, and getting the refuge going this time with Gracilaria or Chaeto, but after I bring the salinity back up.  I have kept the Tri Base carbon in place now for 3 years and nitrate levels are still low therefore I have not removed it.  Any other suggestions ???? Thanks Jimmy <The most common "cause" of HLLE is nutritional... deficiency of vitamins... but water quality plays an essential role as well... the single best thing you might do is to convert your wet-dries to other types of sump filters... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/tricklefaq2.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and the linked files above where you will lead yourself to your apparent options. Bob Fenner>

HLLE-And Poor Husbandry-Not Just A Coincidence... 7/22/05 I've read through the facts, and I see that HLLE (head and lateral line erosion) is caused by poor diet, poor water quality, stray voltage.. etc. <Well, it's not 100% certain what it is, but those seem to be the likely culprits!> My question is this. I recently moved from Baton Rouge to Kenner (Louisiana) and I'm sure you will agree with me when I say that usually the local fish stores and the way they do things is generally the way the hobbyists end up doing things in their own aquarium, in that city. (wow did that make sense??) <I think I'm following ya'!> What I mean is that there really is only one prominent shop in B.R., and they rely heavily on hang-on-the-back filtration, really don't utilize ozonizers, use one brand of protein skimmer etc. <I see...While mechanical filter systems have their place, I think it is a bit narrow minded to use only one methodology to the exclusion of all others....Whether it's in Baton Rouge, Boise, Honolulu, or Outer Mongolia! Hobbyists and businesses need to be open to different ideas and accept the way that there is no single best way to do things in this hobby.> And the hobbyists that shop there have tanks that reflect this method. I noticed in a lot of aquariums in Baton Rouge that HLLE was present, but obviously caused by the lack of water quality.  In these cases it was easily reversed. <Very true in most cases, as you correctly observed.> In New Orleans, there are several shops that utilize sumps, ozonizers, and calcium reactors, and the hobbyists out this way are really more in tune with their systems, and water quality. They feed really well, and frequently, and do smaller water changes. <I think that these methods are better long-term solutions for most hobbyists, despite the initial perception among many novice fish keepers and even some (retailers) that they are "more expensive", "more complicated", etc. In the long run, a better system, properly set up for a sustainable population of fishes will save countless dollars and needless fish and invert deaths. This is NOT a cheap hobby, but an initial investment will pay dividends down the line...We're on the same page here, my friend! Off the soapbox for me now!> I'm doing maintenance and have noticed, oddly enough, that even though the water quality is drastically better, and fish are getting a better diet and (theoretically) they should have no HLLE....but it is a prominent issue that I'm dealing with. I'm talking sever cases, and not just on tangs. And the only thing these customers of mine have in common is that they all have ozonizers. And the ones that don't, do not have HLLE. <Well, in the absence of other filtration adjuncts and means to improve water quality, ozone would have a much greater impact. It is an extremely valuable ally in the maintenance of healthy systems, if properly applied. Good observation by you.> I'm about to start treating with Zoe and Zoecon, (have had remarkable success with these products in the past) and my question to you is should I experiment with cutting down on the ozone? Placing it on a timer? How long should the ozone run to be effective? They are currently on 24 hours a day. <Well, I don't think that you need to run high levels of ozone, but you do want to check overall water quality parameters (such as nitrate, which is a great "yardstick" for measuring overall water quality), and it may be applicable to use a Redox controller to monitor ORP if you are a serious user of ozone...although that might be a bit over-the-top for many hobbyists, IMO. I think that, in the end- common sense stocking and overall good husbandry-including the use of ozone, if you feel it is warranted, is the best solution. Additives such as Zoe, Selcon, etc. are always nice to enhance the nutritional value of prepared foods. Also, menu items as simple as fresh macroalgae, such as Gracilaria, do wonders for many herbivorous Tangs and Rabbitfishes (which are notoriously susceptible to HLLE). You sound like you've got a great understanding of the problems and methods to address them!> Is the HLLE and the ozone just an odd coincidence? <I don't think so. The connection between the high water quality that ozone (or other good husbandry habits) affords is no coincidence, IMO. Hobbyists who use care in stocking, maintenance and overall husbandry seem to have a much lower occurrence rate of such problems, in my experience. Keep doing what you are doing, and preach the benefits of good husbandry and observation to your friends!> Thanks (again) for your guidance, Niki -Coral Connection <It was nice to hear from you, Niki! sounds like you've got it down good! BTW, for more on the HLLE condition and some good treatment ideas, do check out a recent article by good friend and WWM/"Conscientious Aquarist" on line magazine contributor Steven Pro on this very topic in "Reefkeeping" on line magazine. A very good, nuts-and-bolts analysis of this condition. Best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

HLLE...(Cont'd.) 7/27/05 Hi again Scott, <Hi there! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you!> Terribly sorry to bug you, but I don't think I quite understood the answer. Would you say that the ozone might be lending a hand in the fish becoming heavily afflicted with HLLE? <No, I don't think it is...I do think that if applied correctly, ozone can be a great assist in maintaining a cleaner environment, thus reducing the potential for diseases and maladies such as HLLE> It seems that even though I treat with food supplements, and increase water change  (smaller more frequent) that the HLLE does not go away. (As it does with tanks that have no ozone) The only correlation that I see between the tanks that have the HLLE that is not reversible is that the ozone is on 24 hours a day.  Best regards, Niki@Coral Connection <Well, Niki- I've never seen or heard of ozone as being a contributor to more serious HLLE condition. On the other hand, there is not a whole lot known about the real causes and "cures" for the condition in question. Much of what we "know" about HLLE is from anecdotal observations, etc. It's important to follow up on your theory/observation. Why not try reducing the period of time when you dose ozone, or even eliminating it entirely? Since you're basically testing a hypothesis, it's worth a try! Maybe there is a correlation in your case...Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> Regarding the Occurrence of Disease in Nature - Those Who See, Know, Those Who Don't... Hello Bob! I am trying to finish an article on MHLLE and had one question for you. Have you ever seen a fish afflicted with this ailment in the wild? <Yes, on a few occasions... don't know what role local pollution might play here...> Blasiola states it does not occur in wild fish, but I am looking for some other references as well. Eric Borneman concurs that he has never witnessed it. <Eric has barely gone diving... BobF> Thanks, Steven By the way, IMAC is only a month away. I am looking forward to us all being able to get together again. <Ah, real good>

HLLE vs. trauma vs. infection WWM crew, Thank you for such a comprehensive website- I've learned quite a bit.  <You're welcome> Over the past month, I've been stumped over what appears to be HLLE in my regal tang and a smaller purple tang. They have been living with a fox-faced rabbit fish, percula clown, a long nosed butterfly, 2 pajama fish for the past several months in an 80 gallon tank with a fair number of soft and LPS corals, with no recent additions. They have over 100 pounds of live rock, a wet-dry filter driven by a Mag 1800, a Berlin turbo protein skimmer in the sump, a U.V sterilizer driven by an older canister filter, and 2 powerheads in the tank. The fish are fed Nori on 2 clips daily, in addition to a single cube of either emerald entrée, marine cuisine, or prime reef- the frozen food is always thawed and then soaked in Zoë, Zoecon, iodine, and vitamin c (a few drops of each) daily. Water parameters are consistently 0 nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia, with a pH of 8.2 and specific gravity of 1.024 I drip Kalk mixed in RO water nightly (about 1 liter volume) that has been premixed for the week, with Calcium levels between 450-500.  <A little high> I do 10% water changes weekly.  <Good> All fish are eating very well and active. The regal tang has had erosions develop in its face, with continued loss of color in what appear to be eroded spots along its side and belly. There is no overt evidence of parasites such as ich on any fish. The Rabbitfish has also gone from a bright color of yellow (although changes color whenever he sees his own shadow) to seemingly having his entire top half turn black, but with zero evidence of erosion, and the ability to turn yellow again temporarily while eating. The purple tang has eroded 'eyebrows' on either side that have developed over the past month, in addition to its tail appearing to have areas eroding away from the distal end. These 2 fish generally appear to get along well, although seem to compete with the Rabbitfish for the Nori, which is why I distribute it in different clips on either side of the tank, unfortunately, they all tend to congregate around one clip until it is empty, and then go to the other one. I have witnessed some 'tail biting' between these while they compete for the Nori, but that is the only aggressive behavior I've witnessed. I thought for sure this was HLLE, but I can't really see how to improve their diet by much, and the water parameters appear fine. My other thought is that they could simply be stressed from sharing the tank with each other, but they all seemed to be doing fine for months without any issues. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Sorry I don't have any pictures as an example. <Andre, for starters your tank is a little small for the types of fish you are keeping. The tangs alone would require that much room. Good test results are not a true indicator of your actual water quality, just that there are not nitrites etc. present. Other than that, I would try a higher quality vitamin supplement such as Selcon. Try soaking Nori in Selcon before feeding. By your description, it sure sounds like HLLE. It is usually caused from vitamin deficiency and it is hard to reverse. I've heard many stories of reversal by using the Ecosystem Mud Filter. For reading sake, read the testimonials at www.ecoystem.com. James (Salty Dog)>

Tang with HLLE - II Hello, and thanks for your quick reply. I know see that HLLE is what my friend meant his tang had. I read on your site about the ways to treat it, thank you. Do you recommend I take the tang though? Or should I make him keep it and buy a new healthy one? <Lisa, I wouldn't take it or buy a new one until your new tank ages a bit, say five to six months. Do a Google search on the wet web, keyword Tangs, and read what they require.>  Will I need to cure the live rock he's giving me?  <Not if he has already been using it and it has been kept in seawater.> There are also Aiptasia anemones in the tank right now. I was thinking of getting some true peppermint shrimp to take care of them, but I'm wonder what you guys think? Do you think it may be best to break the whole system down, clean it with freshwater and start from scratch? <Peppermint shrimp do not always work. Another search required, keyword, Aiptasia. You will see different ways these pests can be dealt with. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Purple Tang with horrible HLLE - There IS Hope! Bob, Thanks for the reply. Given his current state and taking the nutritional recommendations to heart (am always trying to improve water quality), what would you estimate his recovery to be? Expect him to look more normal to the point where people don't wonder what's wrong with that fish (restoration of the dorsal fin, reduced scarring)? Cheers, Marshall <I have witnessed "terrible" cases of neuromast destruction, involving surrounding tissue, that were completely, undetectably cured. Bob Fenner> 

Yellow clown goby with hole in his head Crew, <HI!!!> This is the first time I've written to you, but I've found answers to many of my questions on your site in the past. Thank you! <No problem - it helps us all :)> Tonight we noticed that our yellow clown goby has a sore/hole on his head between his eyes and his fins look ragged. He didn't want to eat anything tonight, but he appears to be moving and swimming normally (which is to say not much). He does not appear to be breathing heavily. He has been living for about a year in a six gallon tank with two peppermint shrimp, crabs, snails, some mushrooms, a little xenia and his favorite hangout, a Sinularia (I think). Water parameters have always been fine except we've had trouble keeping the pH much above 8. <Try more aeration\protein skimmer\more airflow in the room\dripping Kalkwasser> He eats mostly flake and pellet food, and I'll admit that I don't feed him frozen food nearly as often as I'd like to. When I saw him I was reminded of the 'hole in the head' that I have seen mentioned, but that doesn't seem to be typical for a goby. I have attached two somewhat blurry photos of him. I would be very grateful if you could help me identify/treat his condition. <Looks like some sort of infected injury or lesion, most likely bacterial and not the HLLE that you see in tangs and such. Try quarantining (even a bucket with an airstone and a heater would work, with daily or bi-daily water changes or some Amquel usage) and treating with a broad spectrum anti-biotic, such as Furan-2, (make sure to run the treatment in its entirety!) and see if you notice an improvement in a few days. I would also try soaking his foods in Selcon, or another vitamin\HUFA rich supplement. Good luck!>  <You're welcome>
<M. Maddox>


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