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FAQs on Marine Diseases 7

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System for Fish at new facility ( Emergency) 8/28/05 Hi Bob and Team <Hello> This is a desperate cry for help.....I have previously written asking for advice on my system for livestock (fish) <I recall> I thought I had it made....following all your guerilla acclimation procedures.... had minor cases of ich and Velvet but got rid of those effectively, and had no problems with them since....... Now I have the Mother of all major problems.....I have over 50 Queens, French, and some additional red Sea fish in stock......I have confirmed that ...I have a bad outbreak of Brooklynella <Through what observation, tools?> ......I  sort of identified it a few days ago,  and we have been doing 8 minute pH adjusted Freshwater baths with Formalin... <... and moving the dipped/bathed fishes to another non-infested system...> also added Methylene Blue today to the dip.......but.....I am super concerned about the next 48 hours. I removed all Cupramine with Cuprisorb....changed 50% of the water.....I possess 3/4 of an ounce of 37% Formalin...and the supplier is closed till Monday......Hmmmm It's late at night here, so I hope I didn't make the wrong call by adding the Formalin to the system  ( 1250 gallons)... <Very dangerous> I guess it is way below the recommended dosage for hospital tanks, and I also know you don't recommend it in the display tanks....Is there anything else I can do???? <... not enough data... re your systems...>   I have some Hospital tanks, but not sufficient for all of these fish.....They are still eating , but less...are really twitchy, and today was the day they became pale. <Very bad> I used to deal with Ken at Yankee Divers, and got great fish from him...He was just about to let me in on how he had used Formalin for years, starting with very, very small amounts... <Very small> in his main system....Anyway,  he sold out to a guy who has since lost me more money than I would like to admit by sending sick fish, and incomplete orders.....He also sent me 50 Turbid Flames,  on the one day I was off work this year......and they spent 24 hours in my system....half were dead by then,  and the other half I ordered dead  ( feel guilty, but didn't want to prolong their agony).. That was a month ago...my Brazil shipment arrived 2 weeks ago. Anyway Ken said that his Bio-towers had over time become "immune " to using Formalin.....is there any truth in this? <Some> ...and....what can I do, if anything now?...as I am in danger of a big die-off in the next 48 hours looking forward to some solid advice.... JD <... we need to "start at a/the beginning"... know what you do on receiving, your systems... At this point, I would increase aeration, circulation to the maximum... NOT put any more formalin in your systems, monitor ammonia... be ready with water to change most all out... Get a microscope! BobF>
Re: System for Fish at new facility ( Emergency) 8/28/05
Hi Bob....thanks for the swift reply.......Observation?....well I have some books on the subject, and also spent a long time reviewing your site and others....The fish started scratching a little a couple of days ago,  but only around the gill areas....the other signs were the twitchiness, followed by this scratching, a white mucus  forming on 1 eye, followed by listlessness, losing their appetite, the whitish areas appearing, and now the "looking for air"......Also, the failure of Copper to do anything positive...... <All indicative, especially the last... though there are still a handful of genera, species of Protozoans this might otherwise be... real trouble...> I have sufficient room for a couple of dozen fish in Hospital tanks, but not 60 or 70 My water parameters are perfect, and monitored every day. <I suspect/ed as such... the problem is the state of the folk's ahead of you... what were their systems like?>   And I do have 800 gallons of water on standby, as well as Seachem AmGuard concentrate.  All the details of my system are in the attached emails <Good> I certainly shall have to get a microscope.... <Yes> Do you have any ideas what would be a good thing to do now?? JD <Yes... add aeration, lower specific gravity... a few thousandths a day by adding freshwater... to about 1.017-1.018 (almost always a good change with marine parasitic infestations), look into that microscope, Ed Noga's works... Bob Fenner>
Re: System for Fish at new facility (Emergency) 8/29/05
Hi Bob....and thanks for the reply...... The morning after the addition of 20ml of Formalin, there was a marked change in the fish.  They were more active than the day before,  but I do understand it is not a good idea. They stopped the twitching, and rubbing of the gills.....I tested ammonia throughout the day, and everything was fine <Good> I moved the fish I deemed to be suffering most, or those with the signs of developing a secondary bacterial such as the beginning of fin-rot,  to the hospital area. <Ditto> Last night, I noticed what may be the culprit !!!  but with no Microscope... difficult to say...... I had returned a now healthy Yellow Tang to the main system a couple of days earlier, and just before last night's dip, noticed a clear "lump" on the side of his eye...... It was quite large, about 1.5 to 2mm in diameter, and almost oval shaped.....he went into the dip, and voila....was not there after the 8 minutes were up......However, with the water being dark blue from the Meth,  I couldn't see it in the dip bucket.... <?> In the main system, I am continuing with 8 minute freshwater dips twice a day , pH 8.2,  with Meth blue and formalin. I will lower the specific gravity as recommended.  It is currently 1.022, so 2 days to get to 1.017 shouldn't stress the fish too much. <Agreed> The fish I put in the hospital tank are divided into 2 groups......1 Group has Seachem  Paraguard added,  the other has Metronidazole added...... Both groups of fish are eating,  and the food is coated with Seachem's Focus which contains a little Nitrofuranotin and  I am using it as a binder to bind a little Sulfathiazole.......and will wait for a few days to see any results. One question,  although the fish do not have open wounds or sores,  I am refraining from the freshwater dip for these fish in case osmosis draws out blood or body fluids..... Am I doing the right thing, or should they be dipped as well ?? <Have to "dip and watch/see">   I also have Kanamycin Sulfate on hand....would you recommend this as a better alternative to either of the medications I am using???....or stick with what I am doing??? <Stick with what you're doing> My main system, the one I added the formalin to,  is devoid of copper at the moment as I have some dwarf angels in there......Would you recommend I use Cupramine,??? <... on top of all you've done.... only if the fishes appear strong enough...> ....... I have used this and also CopperSafe before, but mainly for suspected Ich or Velvet.... In your honest opinion, <This is all I have> .... should I maintain 0.15ppm of Copper at all times???? <Mmm, if it were my facility... I would have most of the systems coppered... and some not for very sensitive fishes, all non-fishes> ...( and sell my Dwarf Angels really fast )... I have previously had Brazilian Flameback angels in this concentration for a few weeks with no sign of problems <Only problematical if long-exposed and/or concentration is elevated too much above...> It may appear that I promote the use of Seachem's products in my treatments, but after all I am their distributor here..... <They do have very good lines... consistent concentration, purity... no hocus-pocus...> I started 2 months ago, and cannot get product quick enough !!!...People are saying their reefs have changed tremendously in a short period of time. regards JD <Steady on my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: System for Fish at new facility ( Emergency)  8/30/05
Thanks Bob......I appear to be doing most things right, but your help is very valuable in "Fine-Tuning", and adding to my knowledge regards JD <Glad to offer it... have been in similar straits in past years... hundreds of expensive fishes (mainly Clarion Angels, other valuable tropical Eastern Pacific fishes, challenged, breaking down, a lack of space... Good luck, life. Bob Fenner>

Naso Tang Ich? Giant mistakes... prices to pay  8/27/05 About 2 weeks ago I purchased a small Naso Tang from my local pet shop.  I brought him home and put him in my tank, after acclimation. <No quarantine? You'll learn> I have two false Percula clowns and a lawnmower blenny.  He was fine.  about a week later over night he had small white spots on his skin.  They cleared up the next day <... oh no... they cycled off... to reproduce elsewhere> and he seemed fine through that.  This morning everybody looked fine, and normal.  When I got home tonight, the Tang was laying on a rock breathing rapidly and his skin has a slimy film layer on it, and white stuff on his mouth.  I put him in my 10 gallon QT, and put ich medicine in it.  It don't look like he'll make it.  But I was just wandering if that's what it was or if it's another disease, and should I be concerned with the rest of the tank.   Thanks Aaron <Please don't give up, but you've got a bit of a long road ahead of you here... Please read on WWM re Naso systems, disease, and ich/Cryptocaryon, and ich-infested systems... Learn to/use the indices and search tool on WWM... study... now. Bob Fenner>

Another Naso dying, lack of info., knowledge... parasitic system 8/27/05 I'm sorry to bother you, I have a Naso tang that I just bought a few days ago.  It was fine yesterday and now he is on the bottom of the tank barely breathing.  The perimeters of the tank are good. <As are the parameters?> I have a Firefish that rarely comes out, but is alive.  I've had the Firefish for about 4 months.  All the fish I have ever owned have all died.  Why? <... not enough info. here to respond>   How do I help the Naso?  Or is it too late?  I have him in a qt and I put in some copper med.  He started to move and take some deeper breathes.  Then floated back to the bottom.  Please help. <Please help yourself... there is more to your troubles obviously than this one Naso... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nasodisfaqs.htm and the linked files above... And indeed the whole of the marine root-web of WWM re set-up, maintenance... Bob Fenner>

One gill working - PraziPro and Formalin 8/12/05 Hi There, <Hello> Last Saturday I added a large (6") and gorgeous Queen Angel that was new at the LFS to my previously stable 200 gal tank. No quarantine, bad judgment I know.. <...> Early on the Queen "shook/shimmied" a lot (this was not the case in the store.), which immediately had me worried. Today, 5 days later, I have noticed that one of the Queens gills is clamped shut.  In addition, my powder blue tang has been acting erratic, breathing fast and being skittish. <Not good> There is some minor scratching going on amongst the other fish, but nothing severe or constant to cause major alarm.  All fish are eating well, the queen is eating better each day.  There doesn't appear to be any "dusting" or coating on the fish.  The Queen does have a few raised scales on each side, but it is not severe.   I don't recall these raised scales being there earlier in the week.   My understanding is that this could be gill flukes or Oodinium <Or none of the above...> Today I medicated with PraziPro, thinking it was probably the gill flukes. <I would hold off...> After researching on your site, it sounds like it should go with Formalin (instead or in addition?). <No... very toxic> I did read how it is safe to use copper and PraziPro at the same time.  Does the same hold true for Cupramine? <Yes> More importantly, is it safe to also use Formalin with PraziPro? <I would, again, not "use" formalin... in the sense of either placing it in your main system, or running the present fishes through an immersion bath with this biocide> I do not have much experience with Formalin and have been wary of it. <You should be... this is a material used for embalming...> Unfortunately catching and removing the fish from the tank is extremely difficult for me, so although I know it is not the best, I will be medicating in the main tank. What would be your suggestion at this point? <Ahhh! Finally, to the heart of the matter... I would add (more) purposeful cleaner organisms (detailed on WWM) and simply observe your livestock for now> FYI, other fish in the tank include: snowflake eel, majestic angel, flame angel, Naso tang, powder blue tang, hippo tang, yellow tang, Heniochus butterfly, Longnose butterfly, golden butterfly, pink tail trigger, dog face puffer, tiera batfish, Coris wrasse, 2 royal grammas, and 4 blue Chromis.  No Live rock/crustaceans/live corals. <This is way too much fish life for the long haul in a two hundred gallon system... lots of induced stress amongst the angels...> I do have a UV sterilizer and protein skimmer that I have disabled after adding the PraziPro, also removed charcoal as suggested. <I would turn these back on, return the carbon...> Thank you for your advice!   I'd appreciate your help as soon as possible to minimize the damage. Thank You!! Val <Ah, this last is telling... as in the oath of doctors, "do no harm", you are on the verge of actually doing more damage... Take a very conservative stance here... read, observe... avoid toxic chemical additions. Bob Fenner>

Sick PYBT 7/23/05 I have a blue tang, and she is Sick. I took a video of her to a local pet store <Neat> and they said it looked like a gill parasite. <...> So I got the medication for her. Well today is day 2 and she is not any better. Today she has white spots, is it ich? <Maybe> The med. that I got is Rally Ruby Reef a copper free for fresh and marine fish with bacterial fin rot, gill flukes or marine parasites (e.g. marine velvet). <And whatever else that ails you... this product is garbage> It says on the back its safe when used in combination with Kick-Ich. <Another sham. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/homeopathfaqs.htm> What should I do. She is not looking good. She says in her cave sideways, and she will twitch at times. The other fish I have noticed or rubbing up on the rocks. The water test showed that the PH was a little low. 8.0. The rest is good. The person at the pet store said not to bring the PH up until I'm done medicating the tank.?   Any info would help. Thanks Hana <... learn to use the search tool, indices on WWM... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracant.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Ich or not - no flicking or rubbing/scratching 7/22/05 Hi crew, <Anthony> EMERGENCY - hope you can reply before the weekend. <!> Once again compliments to your site and terrific advice.  I wish I could say the same about my FOWL tanks.  I have two newly setup 55 and 60g tanks (1 month) now infested with ich???. Both essentially have similar species but of a different kind: 60g: 5" Blue Tang 5" Auriga Butterflyfish 3" Coral Beauty Angel 2" Royal Gramma Fire Shrimp 55g: 4" Yellow Tang 4" Heniochus Black & White Butterflyfish 3" Flame Angel 2" Maroon Clown Fish The Blue Tang and Auriga Butterfly are flicking and rubbing (though no visible spots) in the 60g.  They're condition is slowly improving since I added the Fire shrimp.  Both were impatiently taking turns being serviced by the Fire shrimp.  So I added a Scarlet Skunk Cleaner shrimp which both fish greeted with "flowers". <Heeee!> After 2 days I saw the new shrimp dead or killed (by who I don't know - The butterfly likes nipping at my snails or could it be the Fire shrimp?) <Possibly... but "new" shrimp do die quite easily... mysteriously> On the other hand the Yellow Tang, Banner Butterflyfish and Flame Angel in the 55g have visible white spots but showed no signs of flicking or rubbing. They just lost their appetites.  I only have a 10g QT so I put in the Butterflyfish in it after a freshwater dip and medicated the QT with CopperSafe.  It had reddish coloration in it's mouth and rear fin which disappeared after a day and it also regained its appetite.  I thought it was going to get well but the spots got bigger and engulfed all of the fish the following day. Now it's dead as well as my flame angel which I gave a couple of fw dips and rid-ich/CopperSafe baths. I'm really confused what disease they have. I don't know if I'm using the correct medication. <Mmm, turns out, most parasitic diseases of aquarium fishes have about the same treatments, protocols...> My 55g is pretty much hosed.  What should I do to save the 60g with fish that still have ravenous appetites and improving/stable conditions.  (i.e. I do weekly 10g water changes, should I do more this weekend.  My 10g QT is definitely 2 small for the 5" Tang and Butterfly. So should I give them dips, baths (how often? - every day / how long? 30 min.s or less) and with what medication and concentration. Guys, you are the experts.  Please help... There are days that I feel like quitting the hobby. Thanks, Anthony <Read my friend: starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm As you will find, the more you know, the more confident you will feel, be re how to proceed... with knowledge comes power. Bob Fenner>

Dissecting A Disaster...Starting Over The Right Way! 7/7/05 Hey Guys, <Scott F. your guy tonight!> I'm in the middle of a two month problem.   <Uhh- Oh..> Before I ramble on, here are the spec.s of my tank: 70 Gallon 1 Eheim 2028 Filter 1 Eheim 2227 Wet/Dry Filter 1 Prizm Protein Skimmer for 125 gallon tank 1 200w Ebo Heater set for 79 degrees 3 power heads all set in different directions, side to side and back to front water direction. 55lbs of live rock 48 inch compact fluorescent 50/50 lights It started when I added a 3 inch Miniatus Grouper to the tank. He was the fish store for about three-four weeks; looked absolutely perfect and eating perfect. <Wow! That fish gets pretty large. Way too large for a 70 gallon. Think about the "end game" when stocking a tank. Also...you gotta quarantine all new fish to avoid introducing disease problems to the tank.> After his arrival about five days later I noticed that my Dwarf Lionfish's colour started fading and he wasn't as interested in eating, that later changed to not eating at all.  That was followed up with some ich-looking spots on my Kole Tang and my Emperor Angel, but they continued to act and eat normally. <Sorry to nitpick- but the Emperor can and will hit 15" in captivity- it needs a HUGE tank to live anything close to a natural life span.> I purchased some Kick-Ich in order to not harm my corals. <I am not a big fan of this product, and I do not believe that there is such thing as a "reef safe" product for treating illness. BTW- ALWAYS treat in a separate aquarium!> Well, that did absolutely nothing, so I assume it wasn't ich (although it looked a heck of a lot like it). <Um...I'd just assume that the stuff wasn't working as advertised...> I then purchased another treatment of something else (my apologies I forget what it was called-it was orange and turned my water colour to a toxic green look, made by the same company as Kick-Ich). That also did nothing.  To try and shorten the story, my Kole was the first to go, fins started fraying, colour turned almost white, maybe pink. <It's really hard to say if it was the illness or the two rounds of harsh, yet ineffective "remedies" that may have doomed the fish. It's very important to definitively diagnose the illness before embarking on a course of treatment.> He was then followed by the dwarf Lionfish who did start to get his colour back and started eating again but then it seemed as though the illness came back twice as hard.   <Yikes.> During all this I continued my water changes of about 15% every 2 weeks. <That's a good practice.> I then went out and purchased a UV filter (of which I wanted to buy for years but never wanted to fork over the cash so of course now I've done it at the last minute). <A good way to help prevent-not treat- disease, but not a panacea- and it won't make up for lack of quarantine or proper diagnosis and treatment procedures.> At this point everything in my tank (with the exception of the Miniatus) looked like hell and I was ready to give up.  So in a last move of desperation, I did a 40% water change with R/O water and did not add any salt for a good 15 minutes. <Wow- that was an unorthodox move, to say the least...Rapid environmental changes can be disastrous even for healthy fishes. For diseased or stressed out fish, this can spell doom! Promise yourself that you'll never do that again, okay?> I gradually started adding salt in every 30 minutes after that in hopes that the quick drop in salinity was killing the bacteria or parasite that was in my tank. <No. it was killing everything else!> Well that didn't impress my Xenia corals very much, they're gone but I kinda expected that. Things looked a lot better for the next 24 hours but then a thick film started peeling off my Emperor Angel and I could tell he wasn't able to breath properly, he died a day or so later.   <Yep...sounds like that move just made things worse...A lesson learned, right?> Things seemed to have cleared up, my Miniatus grouper, Ribbon eel (who looked like hell during this and is now looking much much better) and my Hippo tang are all looking great and eating properly again. <Gosh- I hate to kick a guy when he's down- but you really need to arm yourself with knowledge before stocking a system...You have an assortment of fishes that really need an aquarium several times larger than yours to be healthy and happy for anything close to a natural life span. I commend you on the first steps towards reversing this bad trend: Learning from your mistakes, and visiting WetWebMedia!> So to top off this already too long story, I came home today to see my Rose Anemone <Arghhh...Dude- you are killing me with these stocking choices...Please, please read like mad before re-stocking this system...> had gotten too close to my power head that had fallen from the glass and was sucked in and distributed throughout the whole tank.  It looks as though all my crabs and mushrooms have now died and there are bits of the anemone throughout the tank that I am trying to collect and get rid of to not further pollute the tank. With all that has happened to my tank in the last 2 months, what do you propose I do before I even think of introducing any new guys to the tank. I realize I likely overcrowded the tank and have learned my lesson the hard and very unfortunate way.  I'm basically planning on just leaving it alone and doing my normal procedures for a few months before adding anything. Any further ideas on how to clear things up? <Well, yes! I'm really sorry that I was continuously harping on the stocking and procedures that you have embraced. The first step is to take stock of what is going on in the system. I very rarely recommend this, but I would literally break down the tank and start over. I would thoroughly clean the system components, and isolate all of the rock, corals and substrate in a separate system or holding container. Then, I would take a good long read on the WWM site about aquarium setups, and decide if you want to continue with the equipment that you have, or if you want to use a methodology that places less reliance on mechanical filtration, such as a sump-based system with aggressive protein skimming and adequate flow. It sounds like you are into larger fish...This is fine- if you have a large tank! If you intend to continue with the 90, then find fishes that will adapt to this sized tank. Make a stocking list, including your "must haves" and other choices. Be sure to take into account the ultimate sizes of your selections. Quarantine ALL new fishes for at least 3 weeks before placing them in the display. Arm yourself with a good basic book on marine aquariums, such as Bob's "Conscientious Marine Aquarist" or Mike Paletta's "The New Marine Aquarium". Read them cover to cover...Don't get discouraged- you can do this! Just settle down- plan carefully, and read...Ask questions of fellow hobbyists and perhaps join a local aquarium club. You'll get some great insights into procedures and concepts that can help you be a successful hobbyist for many years to come! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Marine tank disease I have a 75 Gal. marine tank, no fish now they all died. <...> Some live rock and live plants, no corals.  About a week ago i noticed that my blue spotted puffer had white patches on him, not small spots the way ich usually appears.  I started treating him for fungus. <What? With what?> I also gradually raised the water temp. to 83 degrees.  the water tested within the expectable parameters.  Yesterday i did a 25% water change and added 2 scooter blenny's, a cardinal and 2 small blue damsels, this morning the puffer, a banded shrimp, and an emerald crab were all dead.  Throughout the day the puffer, clown fish, cardinal, 1 scooter blenny and the damsels have all died.  I did notice what appeared to be ich on the clown fish.  Will ich kill the shrimp and crabs?  I now have an empty tank with the exception of 1 scooter blenny, a couple of snails and a couple of hermit crabs, if they don't die also.  What should i do at this point? <Read, on WWM re... use your spellchecker to learn to write proper English... Bob Fenner>

Disappearing, reappearing fins Hi everyone!    I lost a Clownfish the first week of June. Still not sure the cause, but the other fish have remained healthy. The only visible signs the Clown had was a deteriorating tailfin. It started off a tiny nip then the fish started swimming in the current with clamped fins and then overnight she was laying on the sand, tailfin appeared eaten away. The next day I moved her, gave her Kanacyn [I got this because I read Clowns are sensitive to Furan compounds] She died that day. She had the little nip in the fin for about 2 or 3 days then spent a day swimming off and on in the current, next day-dead. I feel bad that I didn't act sooner but the symptoms, to me, did not warrant immediate action. Anyway. I have a pair of Argi Angels who have  [one time each] both appeared to have parts to their tailfins, not chewed up but like someone plucked a couple out. By the next day they will be healed completely. Tank mates are; 3" Raccoon Butterfly 3 1/2" Radiant Wrasse 2" Twinspot Hogfish 1 1/2" F. Percula Clownfish 2- Cleaner Shrimp 1- Fire Shrimp A couple of Hermit Crabs lots of Nassarius Snails They live in a 125 gallon tank I have not witnessed any aggression besides the Raccoon occasionally chasing the Angels away from the algae strip and sometimes the Angels will chase each other around the rocks really fast . The only biting I have witnessed is the Clown biting my gloved hand. He also doesn't like the algae strips, he spends 5 minutes attacking them when I place them in the tank!   Do fish shed fins like dogs shed fur? I appreciate your advice.  <Hello Kimberly.  No, fish do not shed fins.  I'm guessing your wrasse may be the culprit in the missing fins. Some wrasses are notorious in this regard.  I would use Saltwater Maracyn rather than what you were using.  James (Salty Dog)>         thanks, Kim

Raccoon B/F in distress, WWM I have a small raccoon butterfly in my main tank - FOWLR.  It's showing signs of major distress with some small white spots on the body. There are 3 other fish in the tank with some inverts. I have a separate 10 gallon quarantine tank using SeaCure copper with 2 new fish in it now for a week so far - small puffer and sailfin tang. Should I put the butterfly in the quarantine tank with the 2 others in there already? Will it infect those in there or will the copper prevent that? What should I do? Mitch <... all your fishes need to be treated... and your tank. The system "has" the ich/crypt... Please read... on WWM... re this parasite, its effective treatment... Take a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm the linked files... articles, FAQs files on parasitic tanks, crypt... Bob Fenner>

- Fish Problems - I have a 20 L fish tank along with a good bio/mech filter, heater, and the usual stuff.  I first added two Ocellaris Clowns, after my nitrogen cycle had stabilized I added a Hippo Tang and a Koran Angel.  <Good grief - 20L? This is a very small tank to be adding such fish. The clowns would have made it crowded... the tang and the angel would have made it like 25 people in a VW Bug.> Immediately my Tang came down with Ich, I treated the Ich with Green Malachite? ("Ich Cure"), the Ich has now gone away.  My Angel and my Tang have since spent all their time in a cave in my rock work. The Angel has lost all of the blue in its body and its black and white stripes are fading to a brownish color.  My Tang has white blotches (freckle sized not Ich sized) behind its gills and on its belly.  My ph is 8.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, and Nitrates 20 ppm.  Today I picked up a Protein Skimmer as well as a new medication for any parasites called "Parasite Clear".  My LFS could not identify whether my problem is a water quality issue or a parasite issue. <I think right now your problem would be related to water quality and the effects of the malachite green on your fish - both the tang and the angel are sensitive to such treatments.> I am getting frustrated with their lack of definitive answers and the run around to follow. <Consider reading through our site - start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/parasitcdisovr.htm > What can I do to better diagnose my problem and correct it. <Educate yourself.> Thanks for your help.  -Chuck <Cheers, J -- >

- Fish Problem, Weird White Triangles - Hello Crew: Long story short. I have couple angels, and tangs in a 100 gallon QT. with 80% dosage Cupramine. ( this dosage is proven to be effective by me because I managed a LFS and anything more than the 80% dosage will kill tangs, especially blue hippo or flinky angels.) <80% of what? Copper doses should be measured in ppm.> It was all fine and dandy and ick was eradicated, fishes are eating and fine, until I notice some big, triangular white stuff start appearing on my asfur and king angels body, they seems not affected by it (no scratching or reduce appetite), and it is multiplying by the day, I looked up books and try to find out what it is but the closest match is some fluke like/parasite. (read from Dr. Burgess' Marine Atlas). I feed Mysis and Nori dip in Garlicguard and I tried to FW dip and 35-40 minutes ParaGuard dips in tank water once. With no results. Since the fish are moving all the time I am unable to get a photo. Here is a few things I find out. The white triangular stuff on the fish body grown to be string like, and host specific?? ( because it was on the 2 angels only for the first week, now a couple tangs and angels have it too!!! They are not affecting the fish appetite, or entice scratching behavior. Not treatable with copper (because they are immense in it for about 10 days now and appears there) It seems it has spread to other fish, but the fish has no visible wounds as of now and I am greatly confused. I am weary of mixing ParaGuard with copper and I know 2 weeks are bare minimum for CU to work. But I see these white parasite appearing more and more daily I do not know what action I should take please help me. ASAP ASAP!!! <It sounds to me like Lymphocystis, which is bacterial and does appear on angels quite often. It is not fatal and will go away on its own. The triangular shape is coincidental.> Should I keep doing the 45-60 minute ParaGuard baths?? Or cut copper and dose ParaGuard?? (I am waiting for an answer from tech support at SeaChem for medication compatibility) <I'd just let things go for the time being... no sense in over-stressing the fish - it will slow their time to heal.> Eric    <As an aside, I'm curious to know what program or provider you use to send your email as we've had trouble of late with certain emails formatting incorrectly and making responding difficult - you're email seems to be one of those. Thanks - cheers, J -- >
- Fish Problem, Weird White Triangles, Follow-up -
Hello J: The # of these white stuff continue to increase, and the 2 days of Para guard dipping (1 hr) did not do any good. Although fish shows no sign of trauma but I notice the number of these parasites are increasing. Now most of my fish has them... 2 tangs, an Achilles and yellow tang has slightly pop eye..., and to me these white stuff do not like Lymphocystis,. Because: 1. The actual white stuff did not increase in size, it is just increase in number of spot that is affected. <Lymph doesn't always increase in size... it can appear as a couple of spots and stay that way until one day it's gone.> 2. It covers the body of the fish, not fins. And Lymphocystis usually start at fins, enlarge and drop off. <I don't agree. Lymphocystis can [and does] occur anywhere on the fish's body.> 3. It just do not like Lympho to me. <I hear you.> Can it be fluke? Or some kind of worm? <Could be, but the freshwater dips would have nuked them... for certain these don't make the transition to freshwater well at all.> The actual size of the white stuff is a little bit smaller than this minus sign (-) about 80% the length. And does fluke usually affect gills first? <Depends on the type of fluke. Some only seem to attach to the body. Others attach to internal organs and you'd never see those.> My fishes gills are ok... both gill plate moves and not breathing fast... Please help ID these stuff as I am very worried. (X = affected species and dates) Here is what I have: 5 yellow tangs, X (2 days ago, 1 slight Popeye) 1 asfur angel  X (from the start) 1 passer angel X (after asfur, 1 week after) 1 juv blueface X (1 week after passer) 1 juv queen 1 blue tang, X (today) 1 powder blue 1 Achilles X (hard to tell, slight Popeye) 1 multispinis angel (not eating from day 1) 1 juv emperor (not eating big meat items or Nori, thinning, not from harassment) 2 percula clown 1 leopard wrasse (they are all about 3 inches in size.) <I'm not familiar with Paraguard, so I'm not sure what the active ingredient is. You may want to try baths in something a little more toxic, for instance formalin. The formalin will kill just about anything but you need to be very careful about the dose. You may want to start with a very weak bath and step it up in small amounts over a couple of days [no more than one bath every other day] until you see an effect on the flukes - if that's what these things are. If it is lymph, then don't use the formalin. Regardless, would be very careful at this point of putting too much stress on these fish - they've already been through quite a bit.> Eric <Cheers, J -- >
- Fish Problem, Weird White Triangles, More Follow-up -
Better news I added 2 cleaner wrasse in there and last night and this morning these white stuff has decrease in numbers. <Well... I suppose I'm glad you've found something to address this problem, but cleaner wrasses have a bad habit of starving to death once their food source is gone - much better to leave this fish on the reef and instead use something like a neon goby which will thrive on other foods.> However since I remove the copper last night this morning I have notice an outbreak with ich, so I re-dose copper. Everything seems fine now, except some fish's eye go cloudy/slightly pop due to decrease water quality, and this time I leave my skimmer on. <The skimmer will make it difficult to keep the copper in the system at a therapeutic dose. Better to execute a large water change and re-dose the copper up to the proper level.> I will see what happens. <Yes you will.> Reply if necessary. Eric <Cheers, J -- >

Yellow Tang Possible Black Ich Bob, <Yes> I think my Tang is out to teach me a thing or two about marine life.  I notice a  gray mark just above his fin on his side, shaped like a thin oval, it is not an open sore, looks smooth, no red. I saw a picture of a fungal disease but could not really tell. He is eating properly, water levels all on track.  I have searched your site until I can search no more information overload.  I will be setting up my QT tank tomorrow for him, and a major water change in my main tank and wondering if you can point me possibly in the right direction as to what to do. <...> Thanks for any help, my LFS has not been able to answer my questions lately, I may be looking for a new one. Tina <Keep reading: The several Yellow Tang Disease FAQs files, those on the family itself, Paravortex... Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tang Ich? Hello WWM Crew, <Hi there Querier!> I have recently added a yellow tang to my 120g marine tank, <No quarantine? You'll learn> it took a couple of days for him to adjust (eat). He has been eating great (seaweed, romaine lettuce, and brine shrimp). About 2 days ago I noticed one of his eyes was swollen and cloudy. His other eye appears normal, do you think this is trauma or pop-eye? <... might be> To complicate things I think I noticed white raised spots all over his body and fins, I assume this is ich? <Possibly> I have been searching through your website and there seems to be a number of different ways to treat (none seems to be the best). I have a few inverts in the tank (anemones, and shrimp, and live rock), so I guess formalin (Cure-Ick) is not the best way to treat? <Uh, not in the system for sure> I also have 2 Perc clowns, 2 fire fish, a flame angel, and a royal Gramma, they all seem to be pretty healthy. What to do? <Keep reading> If I set up my quarantine tank what sort of filtration tank should I use and what is the smallest tank I can use? <This is posted...> What steps should I take in getting rid of the dreaded ick? <Also posted...> Thank you? Ethan H. Morris DVM <You need another tank, large enough to accommodate all fishes... I would go the copper sulfate, test kit, ready-water changes route. You can use this treatment tank for quarantines going forward. Bob Fenner>

Blond Naso Tang & Raccoon Butterfly NEEDS HELP! Actually, need useful, pertinent knowledge NOW! Thanks for providing such a great library to aquarists and I am a newbie to this hobby. <Welcome> I have setup a saltwater tank for 3 months.  40 G tank, 20 lbs live rocks, 40 pounds of live sand, 304 filtration system, 200W heater, a 300 level powerhead and a spinning 360 rotation outflow jet. (should I connect the air tube to the powerhead to release air stone?) <Likely not... too many bubbles can be more than annoying> Readings:  0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 10 nitrate, temperature 82 and gravity 1.019 (I adjust it because I believe my tank has a ick infestation), pH 7.8 (I have problem to adjust it any higher.... Does I pour liquid calcium into my tank to pump it up slowly?) <Mmm, no... better to adjust your pre-made, stored change water to be a bit higher in pH...> Livestock: 1 Pepper shrimp (1 inch), 1 algae eating crab (3 inch), 10 snails 1 8-line wrasses (3 inch) 1 Maroon Clown (2 inch) and 1 Ocellaris Clownfish (1.25 inch) and they swim, eat and sleep together happily.  1 orange spotted Goby (3.5 inch) 1 baby Raccoon Butterfly (2 inch) 1 Pajama Cardinalfish (2 inch) 1 Blond Naso Tang (6 inch) <... this tank... a forty gallon... three or four feet long... is too small for a butterflyfish, or Naso tang...> 1) All fishes are eating well except my butterfly, he/she is really a picky one that only sampling Mysis shrimp and brine shrimp with Garlic Guard on it. He/She keeps shaking and always stops besides the Goby and ask for help but I don't believe the Goby is a cleaner type. He has some white spot on its fins and body (coming on and off). At least he is willing to take food with his own preference! What should I do? A freshwater dip (with Methylene Blue?) or quarantine it? <Maybe... but really has to be placed in a larger system... will not survive in the forty> 2) Second is my Blond Naso Tang, I bought her for a week already and I put her to the main display 2 days ago. She is really a hot eating machine and she accepts all frozen meaty foods and Marine Green 40 but she doesn't willing to take any seaweed algae. I put the seaweed in a clip and hang it on the glass but she just ignore it totally.... is she healthy in long run? Yesterday, she starts to have black and white spots all over her body and fins. I took a 1 minute freshwater bath for her and it doesn't help much. She seems healthy and not being stressed (colour always stay at light grey). I start to a drops of Marine Zoe to the frozen food and helps she can win the battle. <This fish needs to be moved to larger quarters also... ASAP...> 3) Should I introduce a cleaner shrimp to the tank?  <Perhaps... but you'll still have to get a larger system, or return, move some of the fishes> The peppermint shrimp keeps hiding and I rarely seen it come out from the cave or should I get a cleaner wrasses and hope it can cure 2 of my beloved fishes? <No> Honestly I don't want any other fish since this tank is crowded already and the new cleaner fish might get infected by ick also .... <...> I have a QT but there is a yellow tang inside (2.5 inch) since he keeps chasing the butterfly. I am planning to raise this bully one in QT from now on (10G tank with 5 pounds live sand and 6 pounds live rocks)..... Or do you think I should put the yellow tang to the display tank and put the butterfly and Naso to the QT for medication? Thanks for your help..... <Please... stop... buying livestock, drygoods... other than books let's say... and read. You need to understand your ich/Crypt situation, solve the overcrowding, mis-stocking... situation you've caused. Realize the importance of environment, environmental interplay in parasitic (and other) disease etiologies... Please read on WWM re Ich/Cryptocaryon, systems for Naso Tangs, Butterflyfishes... Either get a much larger (six foot) system or return the tang... now... Read re limiting parasite infestation, dips/baths... Bob Fenner> 

Large White Spot on fish Hello, I was noticing my coral beauty angel I just got. It had a few small white spots on it. So I started treating it for ich. However now I notice that the two other small white spots went away now there is this larger white spot. <... from? The poisonous treatment for the original spots... Might I ask why you purchased this specimen if it was infested?> maybe 1 to 2 mm in diameter. I do not know what this is. I mean it kinda fits the description of a Lymphocystis but not really. Do you think it is just ich? Thanks <Mmm, try to put yourself in my/our place... knowing only what you've written here... How would anyone know what you're referring to? Please read on WWM, elsewhere re marine fish disease, treatments... Bob Fenner> 

Medicine question Hello WWM crew! Thank you so much for your website, I have spent the better part of a few days reading it and it has helped me so much in my recent problem. I have a 55 gal. tank that has 1 pacific blue tang, 1 yellow tang, 2 percula clowns, 1 cleaner wrasse, <A poor choice... Labroides rarely live in captivity... almost exclusively obligate cleaners... and the stress level they raise harms the other fish livestock> 10 hermits, 5 urchins, 1 cleaner shrimp, and until yesterday had a threadfin butterfly. I bought the whole thing as my first salt water tank with all fish included. For the first 4 months it was problem free. I get my water from the Honolulu aquarium and change out 10%/month. Then 3 days ago noticed that my butterfly was having trouble eating. The tangs are aggressive eaters, so at first I just thought that he was being bullied. But it became apparent that he couldn't really see his food. I tried to target feed him and he was able to eat a bit then. I was beginning to notice as well that his breathing was fast. I was trying to research what me problem might be, and did a partial water change, but in the morning he was dead. All of the other fish seemed fine throughout this, but this morning (1 day after butterfly died) I saw that the blue tang had his mouth open all the time and also appeared to be breathing heavy. From what I read on your site it seems like it could be velvet? <Mmm, unlikely... if all has been placed for long... more likely environmental, stress-related... perhaps low oxygen, perhaps inter-specific aggression at play> I was trying to read as much as I could but also wanted to act fast. What I ended up doing this morning was giving all of the fish a 15 min fresh water bath, except for the wrasse who did not tolerate it at all. The others all seemed OK. Then placing them in 5 gal buckets, tangs in one, small fish in the other, with water with a lowered salinity to 1.016 and Quick cure (formalin and malachite green) I chose that med because of a FAQ that I read about it being better for tangs then copper based meds. The buckets are heavily aerated but not filtered and they only contain the fish. I plan on changing 100% of the water every day and remedicating with the quick cure daily. I guess I should do this for at least 2 weeks? (too long?) <Am very hesitant to recommend what you suggest... this compound is very toxic... including to your exposure... and if you don't have an actual external parasite complaint, you are simply poisoning your livestock> And I plan on letting the tank run for at least a month before I put them back in.  Now the reason I am writing is because in reading more I have found conflicting answers from your crew on the copper vs. formalin debate. I was wondering if maybe I should at least switch the clowns and wrasse to copper based Organi-cure as they were not showing signs of sickness even. Would I be able to just put them in the new med tomorrow? <You could> Will they be OK in quick-cure? <Perhaps...> Would further fresh water dips be advised? <No... not unless you have a concern re moving/transmitting external problems twixt systems> I am still not even sure what was wrong with the fish and hope that I did/am doing the right things. I would really appreciate any insight as to appropriate meds and length of use. Thank you. Elizabeth <It is obvious you care deeply and have been studying... Do you know folks at U. of HI? Perhaps at the Waikiki Aquarium? You might take one of your fishes to these institutions if they will help you, and have them make a body slime smear, and look for actual parasite fauna... On the basis of your stated observations I would not continue the current or presented regimen of treatment. The Butterfly died most likely from being in too small a system, furthered by the presence of the Cleaner Wrasse... the Tangs are likely acting up to a large degree from the latter's presence... I would trade in the Labroides. You can read re their use/utility on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Disease Epidemic Dear Crew, <Mike> This past week, I had a disease sweep through my tank. It came and killed all but one of my fish in about 4-5 days. My Huma Huma Trigger seems on the road to recovery (fingers crossed). Unfortunately, the visual signs on my fish did not match the descriptions I read about different diseases. Some characteristics would be evident, but not all. Can you id it? The first signs appeared on my Coral Beauty Angel. Only in the evenings and mornings, there would be white spots randomly covering her however she didn't do any scratching that noticed (couldn't tell if they were raised since she always was swimming through rocks).  Then she nicked herself, because I notice that a scale on her forehead was missing. A few days after that, I notice a few other fish scratching. They all ate normally. About two days later, I came home to find that Spotted Hawkfish was at near death, and his caudal fin and dorsal fins were gone (originally thought they were eaten, but maybe fin rot?). That night, I noticed all my fish were covered in what looked like a fine layer of dust. They also looked like they had a coating of some sort, its difficult to describe. Their colors had also faded.  The day after the Hawkfish died, the angel died. Then my orchid Dottyback died later that day and seemed to have been eaten, for when I tried to find her, the only remains were her head and Caudal fin connected by a spine and some tissue. On one of my perculas, there was some stringy material, and on the other percula, I noticed, the day she died, that she was only using one pectoral fin. The other was held against her side. The next day, I woke up to find one of my perculas dead, and by the next day, the other percula was dead too. The only fish left is my trigger, who stopped eating about the time the angel died, but not is regaining color, is swimming around, and is eating again. The trigger was holding himself in rocks, and was slamming himself into rocks to scratch himself. I believe that not he will survive. The day the Hawkfish died, I began daily baths of half saltwater/half freshwater and Rid-Ich for all my fish. I also, the day after the angel died, I treated the tank with PimaFix. Since then I have been using both, since I do not know what this disease is. The main reason I am writing is because I have been reading that some diseases live in the sand and on rocks. Before I get any new fish, will I have to replace all of my sand, rocks, and water? If I have to do that, my only spare tank I have is a 10 gal. Would the trigger(2 3/4") be okay in that for the time during the change, or will the changes take so long that the trigger will not be able to live in that size tank. I hope you can answer my questions. Your help is always greatly appreciated, Mike <Mmm, Mike... get thee to the marine parasite, parasitic disease sections on WWM... learn to quarantine your livestock. Also, please read re the compounds you mentioned administering... these are/were inappropriate. Bob Fenner>

Is Velvet the Problem, or What? Will the Real Problem Please Stand Up? My tank was doing wonderfully. No algae and I had 5 fish - a royal Gramma, a true clown... <<As opposed to a fake clown? Aren't they *all* clowns..?? Clowns creep me out, as do monkeys, but hey..>> ...a red-headed solar wrasse, and 2 Klein's Butterflies. I had been having a lot of fish die in my quarantine tank and I told that to the people in the two LFSs. They all said "I don't believe in quarantine - I think it's a real stressor on the fish and causes more harm than good".  <<Yep, that's why you'll find NO public zoo or aquarium that skips quarantine. Because it does no good. Oh yeah, sage words. And people wonder why some of us have problems with the information coming out of local shops.>> Another thing that was said over and over was "Ich is always in the water - the only time your fish get ich is when they're stressed". Is this true? <<It IS debatable, to be honest. I, personally, am of the opinion that a whole lot of bad things are present, just as in the ocean. I also believe that it is external stressors that allow diseases to take hold. However, there are some diseases that I would assert that, if always present, would always kill. Let's see where this one's going.>> Having said that, I wanted a flame angel and from everything I'd read, it would not be a problem having those 6 fish in my 75 gallon tank.  <<Not so much the number of fish as the biological load they place on the system. Given your list, I tend to agree, six smaller fishes *should* be no problem.. except for the fact that you haven't quite got the quarantine thing down, that's a problem (and not a small one).>> I bought the first flame angel and he died in my quarantine tank - don't know why.  <<This is a problem. It's important to know why.>> I thought he had something on his fins but was not sure.  <<Fish don't die from "something on the fins". That "something" is an indicator of a larger problem. Think "globally" here, think husbandry, environment, nutrition, sourcing, original fish health. All avenues must be explored.>> On March 13th I purchased another Flame from the other store in town and put him directly into the main tank without quarantine. <<I cannot recommend strongly enough against this practice. For instance, let's say that you did indeed introduce a fish with marine velvet (Amyloodinium/Oodinium). This parasite is EXCEEDINGLY virulent. So much so that you cannot hope to re-use a *thing* without using extreme disinfection procedures.>> As of April 8th five of the six fish had died. I believe it was velvet.  <<Why do you believe this?>> The red-headed solar wrasse did not die and looks perfectly healthy. Today is April 16th and he appears to be doing great. All my snails, hermit and 2 emerald crabs are also doing great.  Now for the questions. Did the velvet come from the Flame Angel or is it "always in the water anyway"?  <<I don't know. You haven't described a single symptom that would even begin to lead me in the direction of velvet. As for "omnipresence", re: specifically velvet, my experience has been that if it's present at all, it's going to show up FAST KILL FAST MOVE FASTFASTFAST. As in "You better have your nuts together little squirrel 'cause we've got some rough riding ahead." This stuff is BAD. Brooklynellosis is another one that leaves little time for action, tends to be virulent (though often we'll see one or three fishes affected, and others showing nothing). This is about the best reason I can see to quarantine for a FULL four weeks (and this next bit is really important) Disease Free. If they show signs of illness, that clock starts all over again. I think it's time to examine more closely your quarantine procedures/husbandry.>> Is it true that Ich is always in the water?  <<Do a search on the many reefing bulletin boards, search Terry Bartelme, Steven Pro, et al. You will find that there is some debate regarding this assertion. However, a different take on my own stance: If one ASSUMES omnipresence, then one is more likely to act accordingly, yes? This means utility of hyposalinity, freshwater dipping, and proper quarantine/hospital housing at the ready. Make yourself ready as a Marine, and it will stand you in good stead. However, we really need to sort out the original troubles with your quarantine, no fish should be dying so readily in a good set-up.>> Was it possible that it was a really bad case of Ich? Did the fish get sick because the Flame Angel introduced a parasite or because the last fish was one fish too many, slightly aggressive, and I stressed out my fish and made them susceptible to infection?  <<Not a one of these questions can be answered intelligently with the dearth of information you've provided. However, if I assume that you had live rock only for filtration in that tank, and if I assume that those butterflies weren't more than 6" in length, I would have to say that, no, I don't think it was just one fish too many that pushed it over the edge. However, I can't really make ANY assumptions that would allow me to be more definitive for you.>> Did they sick because I added one too many fish (the butterflies were pretty active)? What should I do now - is there a period of time I must wait before introducing new fish into the tank (the LFSs say 1 month)?  <<It's time you search our site on marine parasitic diseases, including but not limited to Cryptocaryon irritans, Amyloodinium/Oodinium, and Brooklynellosis. I can't even begin to offer a guess as to what's going on here without any identifying information.>> The wrasse did not get sick but how do I know that he's not just one incredibly immune fellow and any other fish I put in there will get velvet?  <<Cannot answer.>> How long does the parasite stay alive in the substrate? Toni <<Depends on certain conditions, really, starting with temperature, and the availability of host organisms. I'm sure you've heard of people carrying diseases that they don't show symptoms of, but can give to others. I believe that it is *generally* safe to say the same is true of fish. However, there really is no way I can really help you at this point. Water parameters (as well as age and brand of test kit) are the beginning here. If you used hyposalinity, how low, and how did you measure (yes, what tool you used is really important). How big is your Q/T system? Is it filtered? How so? What test parameters have you found in your quarantine? Observation is the keystone of science and good husbandry of ALL animals/children, etc. Please, do start with our Google search tool using the keywords mentioned above, you have a LOT of reading to do, my friend. Marina>>

Will the Real Problem Please Stand Up? - III Marina, Well that was a lot of information so first I'd like to clarify a couple of things that I don't think I was very clear about: <<Yes, while I was writing it it didn't seem so bad, but when I put it up for today's posting.. holy cow! I hope it wasn't overwhelming, but I do like to be thorough if possible, and I feel that it's very important in this situation so you suffer no more catastrophic losses.>> 1- When I said I put the Gramma, clown and wrasse in the QTank I didn't mean at the same time. I put them in individually for a 4-week quarantine period sequentially. <<Perfection.>> 2- Also, when I said I emptied the water out and cleaned the tank, I was trying to say that I emptied it out completely (not a water change), cleaned the inside with a cloth, let it dry and put in brand new aged saltwater. <<Hhmm.. not familiar with that technique, it doesn't ensure removal of certain organisms.>> 3- Also, in regard to the copper, I do have a test kit and I was in fact testing for copper levels but the fish died so fast I probably only tested for one day and it was dead. <<That could indicate a couple of things, such as secondary infection, rather difficult to tell from here, though.>> 4- You state "I think I would treat the q/t like it's been infected" but I want to make clear that the Flame angel never went in the QTank. I did put both butterflies in the QTank together but only for three days because I felt the tank wasn't as healthy as my regular tank. <<Honestly, if these fish became (via the "flame vector") infected with velvet, and you are *absolutely positive* that's what it was, then the display and any other materials that came into contact with the afflicted fishes *must* be sterilized. That means with bleach, et al.>> 5- The tank readings I gave you were from the main tank. <<Ok. As I said before, .15ppm nitrate is nothing to worry about in my opinion. However, without a source of ammonia the bacterial numbers/colonies will drop off. BioSpira is a good booster when new fish are finally introduced, OR, have that raw shrimp on hand and just "feed" the bacteria every few days or so.>> As far as symptoms of the fish are concerned, I saw no signs of sloughing or mucous production or lesions. I did think the Gramma was breathing rapidly (well over 80 - into the hundreds) but she was the one that I didn't really see having any white spots (although it's possible that once she got them she became reclusive in her cave and I couldn't see well). <<Yes, it's possible. So, to be sure we're on the same page here, as I understand you the ONLY fish that died rapidly after the observed onset of symptoms was the Gramma? And as I understand you, the Gramma had been in the tank for some period of time without problems. Is this correct?>> To be real honest, I didn't count or seem to notice the respirations of the butterflies.  <<Ok. I think in this situation you really would have noticed, as with these two diseases (Amyloodinium & Brooklynellosis) the gilling rate is NOTICEABLE.>> The butterflies were scratching against the rock, though. <<Classic symptom of C. irritans infection.>> The butterflies in particular (to my mind) had "dusty or powdery appearance over their outside" . However, they DEFINITELY did not die within 48 hours of symptoms - that I'm 100% sure about.  <<Alright, I think it's a case of ich and semantics. You're trying to sort out exactly what authors mean when they say "dusty/powdery appearance", that's a little misleading. You're certainly not the first one, won't be the last to have trouble discerning between diseases based on written descriptions.>> The picture of the clown fish in the Brooklynellosis link appears to have mucous or sloughing and I didn't see that in my fish so I don't think it was that.  <<Agreed. Again, something VERY noticeable.>> The wrasse still looks happy - no outward spots or signs, no scratching - it's hard to count his breathing because he's always swimming but he appears normal to me. <<That's the key right there, looking for anything *out* of the ordinary. I believe that he's able to host without severe infection, or may even be resistant. However, this still means that you're going to have to fallow your main for that 6-8 weeks. And *that* means moving him to another tank. A lot of folks are using Rubbermaid/plastic storage bins for this. They tend to be about 30 gallons, don't break like glass, are "stack-able", and can be used for storage afterwards. A simple air-driven sponge filter will do just fine in such a situation, too. Heating/temperature stabilization is your next problem, for some easily dealt with via ambient temperatures, for others, gotta buy a heater.>> So , Do you have an educated guess about what the fish died of?  <<Yes. I believe it was ich.>> Are you advising that I start over with fresh saltwater with the q/t?  <<I would actually run it with *just* freshwater at a high temperature FIRST, to be sure all cysts are killed off. This will kill any nitrifying bacteria, but then so does wiping out the tank and sterilization. This is where the BioSpira comes in so handy. THEN start the Q/T up again.>> When I begin to use the q/t, are you advising to quarantine each fish individually for 4 weeks using hyposalinity? <<This is how I would do it, but I think that since you've had problems with Q/T you don't want to go too low on the salinity. I would utilize about 1.018-1.015 in this situation, UNLESS fish show signs of ich again. You might notice scratching and signs of discomfort before seeing the spots. Also, formalin is another method of treating ich. It is more tricky to handle (I wouldn't w/out good gloves - surgical would work here), it cannot be tested for, and does smell.. no, reek. But it is another method that is used successfully with fishes that aren't tolerating copper very well. There are also those who SWEAR by garlic.  My take is this: Allicin, an active "ingredient"/natural compound found in garlic, IS a mild antibiotic. Also, feeding garlic seems to do no harm, and seems to induce feeding in some fishes. Also, it seems to have shown a mild effect against internal parasites, but not a similar effect on external parasites. So, it won't hurt, but don't expect it to actually affect C. irritans, this has NOT been proven yet.>> Do you think I will be able to put fish that have gone through quarantine into my main tank - the one the wrasse is in now and that the other fish died in?  <<Absolutely, but you *must* fallow the tank.>> Why have I not heard of BioSpira for cycling a q/t before?  <<I don't know.. have you ever even heard of BioSpira? I only learned of it a year or two ago, via one of the other crewmembers. At first I was *very* skeptical, but it seems to have proved itself to be sound technology.>> Do I need to add raw shrimp to the q/t if I use BioSpira? <<No, but you can if you haven't got fishes in there.>> Do you really think you'll be able to "Get me sorted out"? :-) Toni <<Heh.. Your tanks, let's hope so! As for you.. something tells me you don't need much "sorting out" (except maybe to give more information IF there's a next time, let's hope not, yeah?). Marina>>

Puzzling illness with imperator angel - Quarantine Means Separate! I have a 3-4 inch "teenager" imperator angel - its colors are in the midst of changing. I have had it for about two weeks. It was eating well for first week and a half. A few days ago I noticed it was acting strange. It would shudder frequently and then dart several feet. It would frequent and lay sideways near the surface, and it has started eating very sparingly. It has developed a white discoloration around the belly/abdomen area, that has grown to about the size of a quarter, if not larger. <Not good> Its stomach area is beginning to look a bit pinched. It also lies sideways against the stalk of red-leaf lettuce... <Worthless... substitute with fresh or dried marine algae> that I have in the tank for feeding (this may just be his trying to conceal himself). But he does seem to be more reclusive than he was last week. Any ideas what this might be and how to treat? <Yes> Tankmates: several butterflies (2- Heniochus, 1 Raccoon, 1 Saddleback; 1 Zoster) several tangs - (2 yellow tangs, 1 sailfin) 1 cowfish Other fish in second tank connected to same filter system (2 dogface puffers, spiny box puffer, lunare wrasse; Pacific tang; Large Queen angel; Niger trigger) <Quite a mix> 4 New fish added a week a go in 2 - 40 gal isolation tanks also connected to same filter system -separated by UV sterilizer (Moorish Idol, Powder Blue tang, flame angel, juvenile Coris wrasse) <The UV will not prevent the spread of metazoan disease> System: 2 -750 gal tanks; sand filter & wet dry; Protein Skimmer; 350 watts of UV sterilization; activated charcoal; PolyFilters; PhosEx-X. Water quality; temp 80 F, Nitrites/Ammonia - not detectable; pH a bit high 8.43; alk ~ 9meq/L; Sal inity1.018; Nitrates ~ 10-15ppm <I would raise the spg to near seawater strength... 1.025, particularly for the new tang> Other Anomalies: I noticed 2 ick nodules on the tail of my Saddleback butterfly. I anticipate the UV sterilizers should keep this in check once it goes to the free swimming stage - <Nope> at least they have in the past. This fish has been in the tank for 3 weeks now and has finally started eating more aggressively. (It would be nearly impossible to try and get this fish out of the tank). Any help you might be able to offer would be greatly appreciated. <In this size system... improving water quality and bolstering health through nutrition are the steps to take... Soaking foods in Selcon or similar, adding more live rock, elevating spg... I would untie the new tank, quarantine from your existing systems... even have separate nets et al... Bob Fenner>

PLEASE HELP! Fish dying - We've Been Warning for Weeks I know I write a lot, I do look things up before I write, and only ask questions if I can't find answers. So I hope you can please help me. I have now 6 fish left in qt being treated for ich. Raccoon Butterfly Maculosus Angel Arceye Hawkfish Redheaded Wrasse Yellow Tang [never has had spots, yet] Royal gamma [ I can't find him, he is hiding in what little hiding spaces there is or dead] I have treated twice with Quick Cure, with 3 days in between treatments. The bottle says 5 days, but I am reading treatment needs to be 2 weeks. I at first changed 10 or 15 gallons a day then went to 25 gallons [ 55 gallon tank] I lost my Flame Angel who got Popeye and who's fins started getting frayed. The night before I had done a half dose of Quick Cure and also added Furan-2 for what I thought was A secondary bacterial infection. The next morning the Angel was dying. <Likely from the formalin component of the QC, and stress...> Now to back up a little to explain the Clownfish death. I have had him over a year so this is quite upsetting. Before I started the second treatment he broke out in little white dots, darting around, he was twitching and clearly being bothered. [he had not shown any previous signs of ich except maybe a little itchy hear and there] I freshwater dipped him to see if that would give him any relief, but it did not help. <You understand, the ich is in the system...> I started doing half doses of Quick Cure twice a day for two days and on the last day did half dose and added the Furan-2. The morning I removed the Angel, the Clownfish looked terrible, he appeared to have spots and tiny spots that appeared to hang from him. He looked liked he had aged 50 years. I got on your website and others to find out that Clownfish are sensitive to all meds. not just copper. I had checked the others out so I knew the Angel was but did not think to check out the Clown. I thought they were super hardy. Anyway I was, at that time running around, figuring out what to do. It sounded like symptoms of Clownfish Disease, but he had been receiving formalin Malachite green, so I assumed that the Meds caused this. <Agreed> I did my daily 25 gallon water change and put the carbon back and turned on the protein skimmer. I was still very concerned about the Clown and whatever this was spreading so I put him in the only other tank I had up and running which happened to have the Tang Heaven I just bought in it. It had live rock and sand so at least the water was good. I could see him better under this light and could now see his fins wee shredded, gills the same and his skin scaly and looked dry. He died this morning. Broke my heart. The Raccoon got Popeye a couple of days ago and this morning specks around his eyes. He has always had specks on his tail fin. The others are fine so far as I can see. I am getting ready to do a water change. I don't want to lose anymore fish especially the Raccoon as he has become my favorite. Please advise, I am scared to use Quick Cure again and I am afraid they still have ich. I would really appreciate any help you could give me. I have been on your website for hours and I can't find my answers. Thank you for your time, Kim <Kim, thank you for writing so well, completely. I strongly recommend you cease the QC treatments and instead turn to copper use, with testing daily... The rationale for this is posted on WWM and elsewhere in print by me. I do wish you and your livestock well. Bob Fenner> 

PLEASE HELP! Fish dying - Follow-up and Reiteration of Good Advice Hi Bob and Crew, Unfortunately I also lost my Maculosus Angel and Royal Gamma Sat. morning. I did start CopperSafe about 2 hours before I got your e-mail [Sat. night] but I am afraid it is too late for my Raccoon . She has frayed fins and is breathing heavy. She is hiding and did not eat this morning.  I should have dipped her last night but I also have a sick child and was busy with her. I dipped her this morning, <the child or the fish?:)>  I had not gotten a real good look at her before the dip. I kept lights low so I would not disturb the Wrasse who freaks out when I am in the tank, tries to jump out [that freaks me out!] so I could not see if she was still covered in spots but the ick has obviously done the damage. This has been very discouraging, I have got up at the crack of dawn every morning for 2 weeks to do water changes and clean the tank and it didn't work! I wish I had used Copper to begin with but did not because of the Flame Angel, and I lost her anyway! I feel like writing the makers of QC a nasty e-mail! I followed directions and my fish died!  <Kimberly, you have no one to blame but yourself for all these losses. I know Bob, myself and I believe Mike had given you a ton of advice, but it seems you still have not taken heed to any of it. A newbie like yourself has no business keeping fish like the Maculosus for starters. If my memory serves me, I believe you have a 55 gallon tank. Much too small for some of the fish you are keeping. Overcrowding can and does lead to disease problems. You need to go a step at a time, not load up the tank with fish and wonder why things are going wrong.> Sorry , I am upset. As far as the fish I have left, Arc eye Hawkfish [breathing heavy too], Redheaded Wrasse [seems unaffected, so far no spots] anorexic Yellow Tang [looks like the living dead, will not eat the food I put in , has started eating the Seaweed Selects again.. I have discussed her with your crew before. She still has strength to chase the Wrasse!] and the Raccoon , who I am sure won't make it.  I had thought to move them to a 30 gallon for treatment so I can cut back on salt and meds but also to get them out of the ich tank. Or should I leave them where they are?  I hope I have some survivors out of this. I have a Iridis Wrasse In a separate 30 gallon qt tank that I had gotten 3 days before the others came down with ich! I like to see him, healthy and ich free! I hope to have the others to join him in the display when this is over! Hey I appreciate your help, and thank you guys for spending your free time helping freaked out people like me, with our problems. Kim  <Kimberly, keep in mind most of your problems are self induced. A good safe rule of thumb is one cubic inch of fish (not length) per five gallons of water. We like helping people with problems, but we also expect them to heed our advice. We don't like answering the same questions over and over to the same person. Many of us on this crew have many years of experience and have been through all the problems. Myself, I've been doing this for 30 years. My advice is to read the Wet Web, and other forums etc, as there are several of them out there. The FAQ's are excellent as you learn from other peoples mistakes. As a newcomer to this hobby, you need to take the advice of experienced aquarists seriously. And, please, don't take this offensively. Use the advice and practice it. James (Salty Dog)>
PLEASE HELP! Fish dying - Kim Follows up
Hey guys, Actually I have 125 gallon tank [and three of the fish I had where in a separate 30 gallon, I had moved them there a while back and one took the ick with them] the quarantine is a 55. I know I am to blame for not quarantining new fish to begin with. This probably would not have happened. As I looked over my previous e-mails I had asked about using antibiotics and I did not see anywhere I asked the same question. The fish started dying suddenly and fast and I had followed directions on the QC AND did daily 25 gallon water changes. I had asked about the length of time I could use the QC I had read on your site 1 to 2 weeks and the bottle says 5 days and I wanted to get an opinion and all I was told was to look it up and I had with no luck. Now I have a Raccoon that looks raggedy, fins look eaten and skin appears scaly so I put her in another tank, out of the medicine, it doesn't seem to be helping her. I am new to this and making lots of mistakes and trying to learn from them. I really did not want to write you about this ick thing because I know you are tired of answering my questions but I don't have anyone else reliable to ask. So I guess this will be it. thanks for your past help.  <Kimberly, one thing that should be on your "to buy list" is a book on saltwater fish diseases. It is very important to be able to identify the disease and treat the specific disease rather than medicate with a blanket cure. Since you have tanks available, I would transfer the fish that you know have ich and treat with a product like SeaChem Cupramine or Mardel's Copper Safe. You need to maintain a level between .15 and .20 for 30 days irregardless how good the fish may look. Raggedy fins etc can be from a bacterial infection and need to be treated specifically for that. I've posted a link for you about medications, product reviews etc. I hope this will help you. James (Salty Dog)>

PLEASE HELP! Fish dying Hi Salty Dog, Thank you so much for the info, I definitely need to get a book of diseases. I moved the Raccoon into a 30 gallon and am giving it Furan-2 for bacterial infection. The remaining fish are in the 55 with CopperSafe. Now they have had 2 doses of Quick Cure, would you still recommend the usual 14 days copper?  <Kimberly my dear woman, I stated in the query below to maintain the copper level for 30 days. Your most important virtue right now is to have patience with the healing process. Do not use Quick Cure and Copper Safe together. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for your help, Kim  <You're welcome>
PLEASE HELP! Fish dying - Some GOOD News
Hi Salty Dog,  <Hello Kim> I have good news to report, the Raccoon I moved to a separate qt with antibiotics is now eating and swimming around. She looks bad, no tailfin left and a couple of white patches on either side but she is eating so I am keeping my fingers crossed.  <Please soak their food in Selcon. The vitamins will help the healing process.>  I also moved the Yellow Tang to a tank of his own and he ate the food I dropped in this morning [I can't even remember the last time she ate] so things are looking up! Don't worry I am staying the course and finishing treatments.  <Absolutely>  I am determined to keep remaining fish alive!  <GREAT NEWS> Sorry I missed the 30 days comment on last e-mail.  <No problem> Thanks for the help, I just thought I would write w/ some good news for a change. Kim  <That is the best email you wrote. Good luck. James (Salty Dog)>

Sick Zebra Moray Eel - II As it turns out, we actually pick out the fish in the tank. The aquarium company just tells us what we can and cannot put in there. Besides the eel, we have the following fish (plus a couple of others that I cannot identify): Square spot Anthias, Speckled Grouper, Royal Dottyback, Longnose Hawkfish, Threadfin Cardinalfish, Ocellaris Anemone fish (Clown Fish); Yellowtail Blue Damselfish, Moon Wrasse, and Purple Tang. I have been told the tank is 180 gallons. Hope this helps!  <Tracy, don't know what kind of filtering system is employed but none the less this tank is exceeding its capacity. The eel, grouper and tang all get quite large. My rule of thumb is one cubic inch (not length) of fish per five gallons of water. When tanks become overcrowded, the chance for disease is heightened. I would ask the aquarium maintenance company if they can remove the eel and treat it at their place for resale. You really need to reduce the fish load. James (Salty Dog)> 

Just moved tank... Now have clouded eyes Hey guys how's things? Ok I'll get right to it I have a 55 gallon reef tank that's been running for about a year and I've never had a problem thus far. Recently I had to switch tanks due to a 18 month old son cracking my tank (no fun at all) so I just moved all the contents from one 55 gall to another one that used to house my Oscars, all went smoothly in the swap and everything is doing great, until I discovered my flame angel now has a clouded eye, I was wondering if it could have been from catching him out of the old tank and maybe injured him. <Yes, likely so... along with the general stress from being moved...> I'm not sure if its a stress related condition or not, he seems healthy other than the eye and he eats fine, I have 18 watts of UV sterilization running so I don't think it'll spread (but I maybe wrong) if its a disease, and I haven't added anything new in about 6 months so I'm not to inclined to believe its a parasite ( again I may be wrong) I haven't had one disease or parasite in my tank yet as my quarantine habits are set in stone on EVERYTHING new) I've even had a Goniopora that was in my friends tank (he had it about 10 months) in my tank since the beginning (about a year) and he's gotten large. so I was wondering if I should wait for further symptoms to develop on the eye or dose with Epsom or quarantine right away? <Nope... I'd leave all as is, closely monitor if any progress...> The tank has: 2 blue devil damsels 1 yellow tang 1 mandarin 1 maroon clown 1 flame angel 2 serpentine stars 1 brittle star 1 large feather duster 10 snails about 10 hermit crabs 1 emerald crab 1 flame scallop 3-4 large sea hares (hitchhikers on some rock) a billion copepods and amphipods 60lbs of Fiji rock Walt Smith red Shrooms green Ricordea xenia Goniopora Montipora and about 300 Zoanthid polyps I'm running a Berlin xl skimmer (overkill I know it, was a gift so I just ran it) 2 power heads a 5 gallon sump refugium and 330 watts of 10,000k and 110 watts of actinic power compact And just to add you guys rock you have the best site for the hobby on the web and you have helped me keep a totally disease free and thriving tank for the last year and I thank you all (Bob, Steve Pro, J, and the rest of you!) Mike Yates <Thank you Mike. Bob Fenner>

Sick tank 13 April 2005 Mr. Fenner,  <Hi Tyson, MacL here with you today.> I beg you will help me. I have a 110 gallon tank. In it I keep a Pterois volitans, about half... <A year?>  ...to 9 mo old, a 6-7 inch blue lined Red Sea grouper, and a newly hatched banded cat shark, about 4 weeks old. I have a white soft sand substrate with a few live rocks. Everything seems to have gone wrong at once. Number one, for about a month my Volitans, Solomon, has not been eating.  <That is not good.>  I found your website and saw about hunger strikes and only later to my dismay about their feeding habits. I had been feeding him on a diet of silversides exclusively and that was to satiety. I fear gut impaction. <Is his gut swollen? Do you see any signs that he cannot eliminate waste?>  Should I wait and see if he gets better or euthanize him, as some friends have told me this would be kinder? That is problem one. A couple of weeks back my water started getting cloudy and I didn't know why.  <Generally that's the cause of the lion not eating. If it was an algae bloom or was it rising nitrites? Have you had your tank water tested and what are the readings?>  Unfortunately I had a bad financial month and was unable to afford salt. However I soon purchased the salt and did a 50 percent water change. All of my water level information read as clear, however the cloudiness had not fully abated. What could be causing this and how can I fix it?  <It could be a rise of nitrites or it could be a lot of different things. I need to know more about your tank levels.>  On top of this after only a few weeks the water levels are reading near critical.  <Please define critical? Seriously not knowing hinders your answer but I will tell you this. If they are off the scale you definitely have problem and need to do water changes. I totally understand about being financially in straights and I also understand about having to do papers. Do you have a friend that can do the change for you? Will your local fish store help you out? Is there anyone you can go to for help?>  I shall be doing another change tonight if I can remain awake after writing my paper. And for the kicker here is three the newly hatched shark, as I have just noticed has started to have a red, that angry welter kind of red, belly. Once again I turned to your excellent FAQ's and found that another man's banded cat exhibited the same symptoms.  <It's generally a type of infection in my experience and usually signals that the tank has a high level of nitrates. Definitely needing a water change.> I am currently running two Marineland H.O.T. Magnum filtration units capable of processing 250 gallons per hour. <How long have you had this tank running? Have you had the activated carbon on there for the entire cycle? Did you have a good strong cycle? Or is it possible that this is a new tank and your water is in the process of cycling?>  One is running Black Diamond activated charcoal and the other a micron cartridge. Please help me, should I be running more and what would you suggest?  <I think you need a larger amount of filtration. You are turning it over twice an hour. I would suggest for the fish you are trying to keep that you turn it over at least three or four times an hour.>  I fear for my fish and feel you are my only hope. Please answer soon if you can.  <Tyson, don't give up you can still save and bring these fish around. I hope I can help you. Maybe the best thing to do right now is to get some help as I suggested earlier and I'm here to help. Good luck, MacL> 

Slow Deaths and Sick fish First I would like to thank you for having such a wonderful web site and publishing such an informative book (love all the great pictures).  <Bob thanks you.>  I have a question regarding the slow death of my tank inhabitants. I'm sorry if I'm asking a question that has already been answered. I have a 37 gallon tank, Penguin 170 filter, SeaClone 100 (man these things suck), 3 inch live sand bed, 1 live rock (5 lb) ammonia: 0, nitrite: 0, nitrate: 10, temp: 76, sg: 1.022 and pH: 8.1 The inhabitants of the tank are 1 six line wrasse, 2 false clownfish, 1 skunk cleaner shrimp, 1 feather duster, 3 hermit crabs, 3 snail and huge bristle worm that the six line wrasse won't eat.  Recently I got two Kaudern's cardinals which sadly died. Upon bringing them home I did a 2 minute F/W dip and put them in the quarantine for 2 weeks. After looking healthy for this amount of time I did another 2 minute F/W dip and transferred them to my main tank (37 gallon).  After about 4 days one of the Kaudern's cardinals stop showing interest in food and slunked around in a corner for the most of the day. After another day of this its breathing got rather deep and then the next day I found it dead with most of its color gone. I removed it from the tank and the next week the other Kaudern's cardinal had the same series of problems and passed away. Neither of these fish showed any signs of external parasites or any other of the inhabitants. Now one of my clowns is pressed up against the corner of the tank in a vertical position and breathing rapidly. I have no idea what could be going on to cause all of these slow deaths since there are no obvious signs of a parasite. Any ideas?  <IMO I would only do freshwater dips if there is a disease present. Why stress the fish out if it's not necessary. Don't know your water change schedule, but 10% per week is a good start. I'm thinking that you may not be doing regular water changes. The Penguin 170 you are using (irregardless of claims) is not enough for a 37 gallon marine system. This filter only puts out a maximum flow of 170gph. You should be around 370-400gph for your tank. Diet is very important also, feed good quality foods. James (Salty Dog)> Thank you in advance, Chris Swanson  <You're welcome>

Wanted citations of literature respected sir, My M.Sc seminar topic is ' Ornamental fish culturing their diseases  and management( or treatment/prevention measure). I to present it on 1st may 2005 kindly mail me in this regard full-fledged literature. I will be highly thankful to you. Zahid Majeed. M.Sc zoology final semester university of arid agriculture rawalpindi Pakistan <Mmm, what I have re keyed lists of citations is posted on WetWebMedia.com under the Disease articles areas. Bob Fenner>

Kim Again - Ick and Popeye - She's Got to Slow Down! Hello everyone, haven't written in awhile [a whole week!]. I have a question I hope you can help me with. I recently awoke to an arc eye Hawkfish covered in ich. He had been getting a few spots here and there but I waited to be sure it was truly ich. My Maculosus Angel was hiding so I knew she was also infected. I freshwater dipped both of the fish and took the hawk to my 30 gallon that is holding a Chromis, Yellow tang, and a Royal Gramma all of whom were being treated for ich and have been in this tank for months. <?... why for months?> These three are to be moved to my moms 55 as soon as I get them healthy. I had a family trip to the zoo planned so I left the rock in water in tubs and returned home with hard decisions to make. Either divide the fish into one 30 gal. and one 20 gal. tank to medicate or try and fight this in the display w/ hyposalinity and Paraguard. Well I broke down and at 8:00 pm drove to the LFS and purchased a 55 gallon with wrought iron stand to use as a qt. I could not cram these fish in such small tanks and expect improvement. <Good> So I filled it w/ water from the main tank got out old filters extra heaters and transferred all fish. 1 Perc Clown 1-3 inch Raccoon Butterfly 1-4 inch Red headed Wrasse 1-3 inch Maculosus Angel 1 Flame angel plus the fish in the 30 gallon.  Sounds crowded but they are fine. I treated with Quick Cure for 5 days as directed , vacuuming bottom daily and now that treatment is over the flame has Popeye! [always got to be something!] All I had at the time was Melafix, so I put some in the tank. I did some reading and then purchased some Epsom salt which overnight seems to have help with the swelling. In reading your website I have come to the conclusion that since it was both eyes and the fish having had ich it was most likely bacterial caused by the ich and/or water quality due to the Quick Cure. <Yes, agreed> Now for the question; is this contagious? <The Popeye? No... but the conditions that brought it on...> Should I wait to see if the Epsom salt cures it or start an antibiotic? <... I would wait> The only other tank available now has sand and some live rock so can I treat the qt with the unaffected fish in it? <Am not following you here... You need to treat all fish affected with the crypt/ich...> In closing I must say though I really hated to spend the money on the 55 gal. qt, it has brought me real piece of mind. The larger the display, the more fish you have the bigger the qt has got to be. <Yes, good point> So as far as I am concerned the 55 is the best investment I could make! Now I have to fight the urge to fill it w/ rock and sand and fish once I return the fish to the main tank! HELP!!! As always thanks so much for your help. Kim <Take your time here Kim... with a systematic approach, good care, you'll whip this infestation and be on your way. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Ick and Popeye - Kim's Clarification?
Hello Bob, Sorry last e- mail was confusing. The fish I had in the 30 gallon have not been there for months [exaggeration] The yellow tang from many e-mails back was in there because he seemed to be on his last leg but he is now eating his seaweed selects and I ordered some Tang Heaven for him to see if I can get him back in shape. I had lowered salinity in that tank for a Royal Gamma and Chromis who had bad ich. The Tang never got any spots, strange. <Happens... like humans, some species/individuals seem to have natural immunities> My previous question was, since I am done [for now] treating the ich, can I [if needed] put the medicine for Popeye in the qt. ... <What "medicine?"> ...if only one fish has symptoms? I do have a 20 gallon I can set up to treat the Flame with Popeye if I have to. I plan on using the Epsom salt and water changes to battle this for now but wanted some advise in case it didn't work Thanks so much for your help Kim <Oh, yes, can be easily added. Bob Fenner>

Is this ick? (a new catchy song), Malachite, tiny tank, self-induced disasters Hi Crew, A week ago I asked about what looked like ick on my neon goby even though nothing had been added for over 4 months. Anyway, I put the goby in a separate tank and put in a medication that has malachite green in both tanks and the temperature raised to 80. The goby never acted sick just had lots of white spots and he is about the same now with less spots. This morning my chalk bass is about dead, breathing hard, unable to swim, is perpendicular standing on his tail.  <It's... the medication... and likely its ill effects on your biofiltration. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/malachitegreen.htm> I do not see any spots on him. Does he have the same parasite but in his gills where I can not see or is this another problem? <Not possible to state... given the information provided. Could be though> Yesterday I did see him rub against the sand as well as did the royal Gramma but I do not see any spots and they only did it once while I was watching. I have a 10 gallon, a mini penguin filter, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate about 20, ph 8.4. What are my chances of saving these guys? <... ten gallons? Too small... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm re Ich, Three Sets... Bob Fenner> 
Re: ick?
Thanks for the quick response. I did read the first article (below) before I medicated but I ignored your advice in the last paragraph of the article. So I guess I proved you right (sometimes we just have to make the mistake ourselves). As far as 10 gallon too small, well that is all I have room for. But I think I can manage it. Based on all the problems people have even on larger systems I would consider myself doing fairly well. But it's the experts like yourself that give us a fighting chance. Thanks again <Thank you my friend. BobF> 

Banggai Cardinal tumor or parasite Greetings! <Howdy> I'm new to your web site and recently purchased "Reef Inverts...". I've been impressed with both and want to get your 'take' on a problem that has recently developed with a single, large, relatively old (at least 3 years) female Banggai that I've had for at least two years. This female is in a 125 gal community tank with 3 other Banggai's and a variety of other reef fishes that I've kept successfully, and disease-free for more than four years. Over the past month, the female Banggai developed more labored breathing and, subsequently developed a small, white, fleshy, hornlike protuberance on its upper edge of the left operculum. <Good observations, description> I, then, noticed more fleshy 'growths' of this material under both opercula that caused them to 'flare out' slightly and they were visible further down the fishes gullet. No other fish (neither the other 3 Banggai's nor the other roughly 12 different species of fish in my tank have shown any similar signs of trouble. <Okay> I am familiar with the tendency of Banggai's to develop fleshy sores on their lower mandibles due to battles with other individuals. These always heal and the fish remains in good health. The problem Banggai, although its behavior seems to be, otherwise, unaffected appears to have developed some milkiness in its eyes, which I think may be due to the internal growths in its head region. The growths are strictly confined to its head. Do you think that this might be a tumor due to age of the fish, or do you think I may have a parasite or fungal problem? Your advise would be greatly appreciated! Smooth Sailin'! Bryan  <I would side with your conjecture re tumor, age here. Naught to do... not "catching". Bob Fenner> 
Re: Banggai Cardinal tumor or parasite 3/11/05
So....... what can you tell me about this???????? No thoughts at all?????????? Bryan <Bryan... let me suggest/request that you be less demanding, more polite... and easy on the use of extreme punctuation. Also... take the time to read through our archives on fish diseases. It's free content waiting for you to answer your question(s) possibly and teach you so much more. kindly, Anthony> 

Wipe out Hi James,  <Hello Deb> As of today I lost all of my fish. <Sorry to hear this.>  I had the LFS service come to my home and he said he felt I had a bacterial infection going on based on the look of one of my fish I saved for him. The fish had a pinkish to light red line going down him. He installed a UV sterilizer for me and said to give the tank 5 days to rid of the bacteria then add one fish as the tank could be without fish this long. I have two cleaner shrimp and five small snails left, everything else is gone. I am so discouraged by this whole thing, as well as upset that we lost such beautiful fish.  Is this the correct procedure, is 5 days long enough to wait? All levels in the tank are where they should be so water quality is not a problem. He said he would not treat with medication as that disrupts the whole system, that he would let the UV do its job. Any thoughts and advice are appreciated.  <Deb, first of all, a UV is only going to kill what goes through it. There is no guarantee that all the bacteria will be killed. I would let the tank run for at least three weeks if not four. This way, if there are any parasites (ich) in the tank, these should die off also. Then I would consider the use of a quarantine tank for new arrivals before they are put into the display tank. James (Salty Dog)>

- Captive Life Span - Bob, <JasonC this time.> I just want to know where I can find information on the lifespan of marine fish in captivity (home aquarium).  <I've seen such things on the net, but I don't recall where... would enter the name of the fish you are curious about along with the terms "captive life span" into your search engine of choice.>  I been trying to locate on your website and others but no one seems to have a guideline as to how long they can live in a healthy tank. Is 3 years good, average or bad.  <I'd say it's above average but not really good for most fish. Obviously there are some who don't live long to begin with, i.e. neon gobies which only live a year or two. But more typically, the average marine fish can live at least 10 years in captivity and there are record of 20+ years for certain specimens.>  Is there any where that I can pull up that info, for all marine fish? <I am not aware of a single source of such info.>  As of today 3 of my fish are 3 years old, and one is 6 years old the oldest being a neon velvet damsel the rest tangs.  <Sounds like you're doing well.>  But I want to know what is the average lifespan has anyone ever really figured it out.  <Don't think this work has been done - averages I mean, and if they were, they'd be depressing as there is sadly a lot of early mortality in aquarium fish. I am however, impressed by the ages of your fish and wish them many happy years to come.>  Thanks, Michael <Cheers, J -- > 

Quarantine or DIE! No not you...your fish. Hi WWM crew. I have a new 55 gallon reef tank that I started like 2 months ago. As of now I have 2 true perculas, Capnella everywhere (I splits almost everyday), and green star polyps. Last night my Kole tang lost the horrible battle with ich which he caught Sunday night. I have no idea how it happened but it did. On Saturday I added a plant bunch of Caulerpa and cleaned out the canister filter. When I first added fish to my tank about 3 weeks after the crabs and snails I added a small True and a yellow tang. The Tang came down with ich the first 2-3 days and I was able to cure him of it. A week later it got it again and died the night I treated it with freshwater and copper for about 5 minutes in a 5 gallon bucket. Foolish of me I added another clown a week later and he had a minor case of ich but went away. I waited 4 weeks with the temp. At 80 degrees to speed up the crypt life cycle. One day at work (I used to work at my LFS) we got a nice 2 inch Kole Tang in. He was there for 2 days at 30 bucks but I was able to get him for $13. I took him right away because I love these tangs. He was eating a bunch of stuff off my rock for the first two weeks and then on Sunday he was hiding in his cave during the day. I thought I spooked him because they are shy fish. Well Monday comes around and when I got home from school he was still in there so I pocked a brush inside to get him out and I saw one big spot on his side with tiny white spots of ich. He went back in and came out 2 hrs later and was lying against the rock not moving but gilling. I filled a bucket of saltwater from my tank in a 5 gal bucket with a teaspoon of stress coat and 3/4 teaspoon of MelaFix (the only medication I had on hand), I also added an air pump and heater. Well he was floating around but still alive and I went to bed. This morning I found him dead at the bottom, another tang I lost to ich. What should I do to my tank? I know I should take out my clowns and QT them and let my tank fallow for 4 weeks. My clowns never get ich (knock on wood) but if they do I will definitely QT ASAP. I'm about to run out and buy a quarantine tank. What is a good size? I am thinking of buying a regal tang in the future. How long should I wait till I add more fish and what else should I do to it? Thanks Joe >>>Hey Joe, The first thing you need to do for you tank is stop throwing fish in it for the time being. Number two, I strongly suggest you do a search on Cryptocaryon irritans and become familiar with it's life cycle. There are some very good articles written by Steven Pro and Terry Bartelme available on the web. Waiting only 4 weeks for your system to clear of the parasite is not sufficient. You really need to keep your tank free of fish (or at least, if fish are present and non-symptomatic, keep from adding more fish) for 60 days or so, 90 is better. Also, why are you tossing fish into a display tank without quarantining them? This is basic fish husbandry, and the ONLY way to keep from having your current experience. You absolutely MUST quarantine all new arrivals for AT LEAST 3 weeks (that being the rushed method) but preferably 4 to 5 weeks *BEFORE* adding them to your display tank. Quarantining AFTER you notice ich on a fish in your display is defeating the purpose of the entire concept honestly and doing nothing to keep your display healthy. As far as size for the Q tank, it depends on what is the largest fish you plan on obtaining. 10 gallons is usually sufficient if you obtain small specimens. Good luck Jim<<<

- Possible Disease or Loose Scale?  Bicolor Angel - Hi I have spent some time looking through your site to find an answer but have had no luck. Was hoping you could help me out with this hopefully minor query.  I have had a bicolor angel for just over a month. He is active, eats well and looks and behaves healthy.  Last night I was looking at him closely and I noticed what appears to be a "scale" looking object on the blue part of his body.  I am not sure if it is raised or it is a discoloration. If it is raised then it raised like a rogue scale and not like a parasite lump.  It is quite small - but in the shape of a scale. and it is whitish but with some transparency -which suggests that maybe it could be a scale? It is probably about the size of the zero character character i.e. " 0 ".  I have seen fish with white spot, and from my experience it does not appear to be that. Is it possible that it could be a scratch?  <I think so... is not uncommon at all for fish to occasionally dislodge a scale which detaches from its base, loses color, and eventually falls off.>  Can a bicolor angel have a scale that is not coloured despite its yellow/blue colour?  <Sure... just need to scrape in the wrong direction against the scale and there it is.> If it is a disease then what are my options? Getting him out of my tank will be a nightmare if not close to impossible.  <Never impossible. I don't think its a disease, but for your reference, you can remove the decor and drain the tank in less than 30 minutes giving the fish fewer place to hide and go. Sounds like a lot of work, but much better than chasing it around with a net.> Incidentally, I have some medication for Whitespot.. which supposedly is not copper based. The active ingredient is "Quinine Hydrochloride" 30mg/L and Malachite Green - The latter ingredient sounds a bit placebo-ish.  <Not really a placebo... is an organic dye. Lets you see how much you've dosed of an otherwise clear liquid.> " It says not to use this with bivalves/stars/urchins etc. What are your thoughts on this?  <Keep it in the bottle for now, don't use in your main tank.> If you could help me out with my angel then that would be great.  <I say no worries.> Regards, Simon <Cheers, J -- >

Injured fish 8 Feb 2005 I have been looking for an answer to my question but can't find it!  <Hopefully I can help then.>  I also have read through Bob's book (The Conscientious Marine Aquarist).  <Amazing book, you'll still find things the thirtieth time you read it.>  I have a saltwater aquarium, I have not added any new fish for 11 months. All was going well until I added some live rock last week. Since that day my blue damselfish has been very aggressive.  <Ahhhh found his territory.>  He has always been the alpha fish but never as overly aggressive as he has been the last week. He even charges at the magnet when we put it in to clean the tank, he has been charging at all the other fish and I guess he messed with the wrong guy.  <Someone fought back probably.> When I shut off the light last night all was well and everyone was healthy. When I got home from work today the damsel is missing a huge chunk of his side, it's by his gill, he has not shut his mouth, and his side appears caved in.  <Very injured.>  My questions are these: Can he recover?  <Yes.>  Is there any possibility it could be an illness or do the symptoms sound more like a fight?  <Fight.>  He has no mucus on him, he still swims fine, he approached the food when I fed them but seemed to not be able to eat.  Inside his mouth looks red almost like his mouth has blood in it or something but nothing is coming out.  <Poor guy, probably painful too.> By putting him in the QT tank and trying to heal him will I be prolonging the inevitable?  <I don't think so, I think he will be able to heal.>  Thanks so very much for all your help in this problem and with so many others. I read your site faithfully and get upset when people strike back at you like that recent fellow did. You give freely of your valuable time to help so many of us who have so much less knowledge in this field than you do. Thank you for your time, knowledge, advice, help, etc.  <Amy we just try to do our best and talk from our experience. Good luck and let me know how he does. MacL> Warm Wishes, Amy 

Mystery Saltwater Disease and Other Disease Issues I have been fighting multiple diseases with my saltwater fish for over three months now, and quite frankly, it is getting to become extremely frustrating. <No fun> I will start my tale with my dogface puffer, who has just had a relapse of a disease that I have been unable to diagnose.  The first onset of the disease came about three months ago, when my dogface puffer began to develop small white spots on his sides near his tail.  The spots weren't anything like Ich spots, and I assumed that this must be marine velvet. <No... could be "nothing" in the way of a biological vector... just "spots" from the puffer itself... from stress in general or specific, a scrape response...>   The spots can best be described as very small pimple-like whiteheads, spaced very closely together, and almost appear to resemble a honeycomb, because the white spots are actually recessed into the skin.  Once I could see the spots spreading on the skin, I removed the puffer from the main tank and put him into a 10 gallon hospital tank where I first administered QuickCure without any results at all, and the spots would not go away after a week. <QuickCure is VERY toxic, particularly to smooth-skinned fishes like Tetraodonts> I then began to administer Mardel's CopperSafe, but at that time my puffer's condition got terribly worse, and he began to produce excessive body slime while lying on the bottom of his tank and refusing to eat. <Typical copper exposure reaction by true puffers> I assumed a bacterial infection, so I administered Kanamycin along with the copper. <I guess I should have gone into the pet-fish medication biz...> His condition continued to get worse, and after a week without eating and losing about ½ of his body mass, I feared that he was a goner.   <Almost entirely as a result of the treatments.> I actually got to the point where I put him into a Tupperware container filled with saltwater, and I was going to euthanize him in the freezer, but he suddenly showed signs of life, and I just couldn't do it to the poor little guy after he showed the will to live. <Yay!> So, I put him back into his tank and continued administering medication. <Ohh> A couple of days later he was actually swimming in the tank a little, and began to eat.  His skin looked terrible, but the spots were going away, and he began to eat again.  By the end of the third week, he was looking much better and eating daily, and I continued with the medication for another two weeks.  After a month of fighting this disease, I stopped the copper and antibiotics, and I had cycled live rock (cured in the absence of fish) at the ready to put into the hospital tank so that I could stop doing water changes (I had been changing 50% of the water every day for a month to keep the water quality in check). <Good. Does sound like you know what you're about here> The addition of the live rock helped in maintaining water quality, and I kept the puffer quarantined for another three weeks at which time I was going to put him back into the main tank.   <I would> However, the day before the end of the three weeks of quarantine, the spots showed back up again.  I assumed all along that it was marine velvet that I was battling, but now I'm not so sure. <Not velvet... this algal parasite is very small... not able to discern as the spots you describe> This time around I switched treatment medication to an Aquatronics product that I read was one of the best treatments for velvet on the market, but the spots are not going away.  My puffer looks great and eats fine, but the spots remain. <Don't worry re... could be Cestodes, flukes... but VERY likely not "catching" or that debilitating to the host (your puffer). The chemical/treatment exposure and handling has been much harder on it>   I don't know what to do about this. <I would "do" nothing... perhaps try supplementing this animal's foods with a vitamin mix (e.g. Selcon), but not removing it, treating it otherwise> I've been in this hobby for only about 8 months, and so far my experience has been horrible because every fish that I've gotten in has developed some disease.  I started doing quarantines after my first Ich bout, and I'm waiting 6 weeks between stocking the quarantine tank, but no matter what I do, the new fish develop disease within the first week of ownership and don't even make it to the main tank before dying of Ich, Brooklynella, lateral line disease, or fungus. <Time to take a few steps backward here... Stop stocking anything till there are no disease situations in your system... study a bit more re better livestock selection/s... Have someone come over, look over your set-up, acclimation et al. procedures... and maybe look into a better source for purchase...> I've bought fish from three different stores in the area, and continue to get sick fish.  Even if the fish look healthy, other fish in the store's system show outright signs of disease, or you see flashing.  How can you get healthy fish when every store that you visit has sick fish? <Quarantine, perhaps going outside these three LFS... maybe even etailers... DrsFosterSmith.com and Marine Center in particular have great selection and stellar reputations for good, clean stock... take their time to be careful who they buy from, carefully dip/bath, treat incoming livestock themselves... something's that the vast majority of stores are ignorant, apathetic re.> I've even gone out of town only to discover the same situation in other stores.  I would put my total number of stores visited at 8, and observed the same issues at all of them.  I'm starting to think that disease is the dirty little secret of the saltwater fish industry, and from an ethical standpoint, I have to start questioning the mortality rates of fish caught from the wild and sold as pets. <You are wise here my friend. I wrote for "industry mag.s" for twenty some years, producing "letters to the trade" in essence begging all to utilize simple pH-adjusted freshwater dips on marine fishes that are wild-caught (almost all are even today)... which would virtually eliminate the bringing in of the twin scourges of parasitic disease (Crypt and Velvet), as well as bolster the initial health of these fishes... Some of these letters are posted on WWM I believe... the result... inconclusive. I don't know if many people in the industry took (or even take!) my opinions into consideration... but Quality Marine, Underwater World... in LA... Tropical Marine Centre in the UK... others including some great retailers (e.g. Aqua Touch in Phoenix) DO utilize careful dip/bath acclimation and quarantine procedures to great success... in keeping their livestock AND customers... AND their customers "alive"...> I have probably thrown away over $500.00 in water and medications in my attempts to save my sick fish over the past several months, and I doubt that many others would put forth the same efforts, meaning that a lot of fish are dying in people's tanks.  My water quality is spot on (s.g. = 1.024; temp.=78 degrees F; pH=8.3; ammonia=0; nitrate=0; and nitrate=0-5ppm), and my tank maintenance practices are in line with the expert's recommendations, meaning 20% weekly water changes, monthly carbon changes, removing detritus from the tank through vacuuming, etc.  What do you recommend to this frustrated aquarist?  I am following all the recommendations, and I can't keep fish healthy. Lou Hoffman <Honestly Lou... I would allow the system to go without new additions for as long as it takes... buy new livestock from where I and others suggest (distally), quarantine all of these for a good month... and "keep on keeping on"... Does appear you are an intelligent, caring individual who is and has been learning "from trial by fire". Do hang on, in and you will (hopefully soon) find others who can/will help you, share your ordeals, history... Bob Fenner>

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