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FAQs on Tank Troubleshooting 14

Related Articles: Tank Troubleshooting Pt 1, Part 2, The Three Sets of Factors That Determine Livestock Health/Disease, A Livestock Treatment System,

Related FAQs: Troubleshooting 1, Troubleshooting 2, Troubleshooting 3, Troubleshooting 4, Troubleshooting 5, Troubleshooting 6, Troubleshooting 7, Troubleshooting 8, Troubleshooting 9, Troubleshooting 10, Troubleshooting 11, Troubleshooting 12, Troubleshooting 13, Troubleshooting 15, Troubleshooting 16,

Need a parasite ID/treatment recommendation... ... toxic situation     11/19/13
Hello WetWeb Crew,
I seem to have come across an unknown parasite,
<?... the pix attached; show two of the more aquarium-difficult Acanthurids... w/ a great deal of accrued body slime... exposed to what?>

 and despite scouring the internet I've come up empty. I need some help in determining what this is, and how to treat it. First of all, none of these fish have entered my display tank - this pathogen has been confined to quarantine. Also, I've now experienced it on three different fish within three years. The first two fish (powder blue and brown tangs) did not survive, despite months of attempted treatment and troubleshooting with medications.
<Sans sampling and microscopic exam? Have you read the mat.s on WWM re parasitic identification?>
I have attached photos of those two fish for your reference. I had hoped to never see it again, but now here I am. I ordered a Red Sea Regal angel, and he came out of the bag with 4 of these "growths." I did not attach a picture of the regal because I'm having trouble getting a quality shot, and there is no doubt that it is the exact same symptom. What I've observed, is that these "spots" start out as a small speck on the fish, bigger than Ich and wrong texture/shape
for Lympho. They then proceed to "grow" outwards from the body of the fish and form a 2-5mm filament that hangs off.
<... almost assuredly reaction from something "in/of the water"...>
I've seen them triple in size within a day or two.
<... mucus, mucin... See WWM re body slimes of fishes (these four words in the search tool; on every page)>

 On the deceased fish, I've attempted to remove the growths via tweezers or scraping in hopes of learning something about them, but there's no real anatomy as far as I can tell. They don't seem to be worms. I've had mild results treating with .5mg/l Cupramine, but the parasite manages to return worse than ever after a week or less of symptoms disappearing, while still in full dose copper. I have not observed the disappearing act that is associated with Ich, once a growth appears it stays; though the delicate end piece can break off. Any help at all or insight you can offer would be most appreciated. A regal angel is just about the worst fish to try and experiment with medications on. Thanks in advance
<Am almost certain this is simply body mucus... a reaction to... something/s in your water... Sample it and see (under a 'scope). Some treatment, an aspect or more of your system is poisoning these fishes... causing them to become "very slimy"... that's what this trailing white material is, NOT parasitic; not pathogenic period. Treatment... involves investigating, eliminating the source of toxicity here... salt mix? source water? some "treatment" misplaced here... Bob Fenner>

Re: Need a parasite ID/treatment recommendation    11/19/13
Thank you very much for your reply Bob,
<Welcome Ami>
I had considered the possibility of excess mucous also, but there is nothing (detectable)
<The operative word... I WOULD add a unit or two of both ChemiPure (or eq.) and PolyFilter in your circulation, filter flow path... likely whatever this is... will be sufficiently absorbed to make a difference. Going forward I strongly suggest you look about for a source of metal poisoning (a fitting, piece of décor...) and sources of aerosols... ask your water supplier (number on your bill) for their analysis of your source water>
 in my water that could be acting as a toxin. Is there something specific you would have me check for? The obvious parameters are all perfect in my quarantine systems and display - Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate are all 0, phosphates are undetectable,
<... How are NO3 and HPO4 rendered as zero? Chemical filtrants may be the source of trouble here>
 I run my salinity at 1.025, temperature is 78 degrees. These fishes all exhibited symptoms prior to any medication being introduced, and within a day of being moved; including the regal angel which came out of the bag from LiveAquaria this way.
<Am doubly concerned then LA has very good livestock... they buy exclusively from the best outfit in the US... and several friends in turn supply them>
The two tangs came from the tanks of fellow reefers where they lived for years, but had never been quarantined previously. I am well aware of the difficulty level of the tangs, and I currently have powder blue, powder blue hybrid, and achilles all living quite happy and healthy in my 520g reef tank. I attribute my success to quarantine. These particular fish that showed sloughing mucous seemed quite random. Also, what am I looking for under a microscope?
<Structure; send along pix>
 Verifying that it is indeed mucous, or the nature of said mucous?
<Amorphous, almost clear, w/ some slight thread-like inclusions>

I will need to pick one up as I don't have one on hand.
<See WWM re>
 I have managed to take picture of the regal, the "mucous" blends in with the pattern of the fish unfortunately, each area is about 3mm long.
<Can't make out much more than this>
 I realize the picture looks pretty mild, but after experiencing what I have in the past with this thing, I'm nervous to say the least. I am also unsure how such excess mucous would manifest itself the same way in such soft bodied tangs and the thoroughly scaled angelfish. For now I will focus on getting her a healthy appetite. Thank you for your help!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Ich or Velvet?     11/10/13
I have a Kole tang that suddenly is covered in a velvety substance.
I’m assuming it’s marine velvet… but I also thought it could be marine Ich.

Could you confirm which disease it is for me?
<.... doesn't look like either of these Protozoans to me... Something "more sinister", like poor water quality issue, perhaps stinging... What else is in this system? What additives, supplements et al. are you pouring in? Bob Fenner>
And I believe this guy is probably to far gone.
Friday he seemed fine… today (Sunday) he looks terrible.
Thank you for your help.
Matt Kasperski
Unfortunately, this is the best pic I can get.  It does appear more velvety than sprinkled with ‘salt or sugar’.
I’ve probably just answered my question.  But I thank you for your time.

Re: Ich or Velvet?     11/10/13
It’s a 6 month old system… (75 gallon).
Other fish are 2 ocellaris clowns, 3 Chromis, 1 melanurus wrasse.
Also 2 Birdsnest corals and a Montipora, cleaner shrimp… assorted snails.
<All these should be okay>
I moved from VA to TX back in June… 
The system was set up immediately in June and was ‘seeded’ with a few pieces of live rock from my old (4 year running) system.
I thought I had Ich in this new setup (even though all fish were quarantined for 6 weeks in a smaller tank).  I have been treating with ‘Kick Ich’
<... here's the problem. Ala pepper sauce. You've been scammed>
 for two weeks… (I know, it probably doesn’t work but I was desperate).
Was performing 25% water changes twice a week before a new dose of Kick Ich was added.
Aside from adding the Kick-Ich, I have added buffer (sodium carbonate) occasionally to combat low Alk.  Regular water changes are performed every two weeks and I would have assumed water quality was ok.
All the fish look a little ‘off’ today but the Kole tang looked the worst.
All are in hospital tank now… and I was wondering what would be the best course of treatment.
OH… and how long should I leave the DT fallow?  8 weeks?
<... posted on WWM... I'd look into quinine cpd.s>
I have attached a better pic of the Kole tang in the hospital tank.
<... poisoned by the scam product. Search, read re this on WWM as well. BobF>

Re: Fish Dying in Reef Tank   10/19/13
Thanks Bob for the quick reply.  A few questions if you don't mind.  I was performing 50 Gallon water changes weekly to rid the Nitrates would this have help reduce the toxicity? 
<Yes; but an expensive, short term solution only. I would read, consider long-term means>
When you talk about biological poisoning do all the other species of coral in the tank die or just the corals next to the one releasing the toxins?
<Not necessarily any dying; but the fishes first>
When you mention aggression, do you mean the corals will grow and over take the neighboring coral or will it poison the whole tank?
<Please read where you've been referred. These sorts of physical, chemical, biochemical means of competition go on continuously... sometimes more  vigorously, with dire consequences>
This was quoted from one of the FAQ pages I've read on WWM "Regarding chemical filtration, I use Purigen in an attempt to keep trace elements in the system. Do you know how this product compares to activated carbon in regards to filtering allelopathic compounds?
<I do... neither are really useful>"  All I read about on WWM is to remove the toxicity in the water you have to run activated carbon.  Can you please clarify.
<The compounds involved are mainly terpenoids... a large class of cyclic hydrocarbons... NOT removed by most of the common chemical filter media used by hobbyists>
I'm going to perform a 100% water change and continue to run activated carbon and poly filter (unless you advise a different approach), is this what you recommend?
<At this point/juncture, yes>
  How would I know when the toxins are removed and if it's safe to add fish?
<Unfortunately mainly through "bioassay"; exposing fish, invertebrates as test subjects>
Could high Nitrate say 30-40ppm in a reef tank cause a toxic warfare?
<It might indicate something that could trigger such an event; though NO3 by itself is generally not a big issue>
Would SPS and LPS in the same aquarium give off minimal toxins since their both hard corals?
<No... some "real winners" like Galaxiids, Euphylliids win out over most all other Scleractinians... >
Thank you for your help and good sense of humor.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Fish Dying in Reef Tank   10/19/13

O forgot to add this.  These worms were all over the sand bed after the incident. Do you know what they are and what causes it.
<Ah yes; coming out because they are either being poisoned as well; or seeking dead fish as food. BobF>

Sudden fish kill    10/7/13
Please Help,
I have a 125 gallon marine aquarium, been keeping for 11 years. Woke up the other morning to find all but 2 fish dead. I have never had a water parameter  or temperature problem.
<Mmm; some sort of "wipe out syndrome"... there are a few noted/speculated causes>
This happened to me once before about 6 years ago and I just can't figure it out. LFS stores no help.
Deceased fish: Yellow Tang, Sumatra Regal Angel, Venustus Angel, Snowflake Clown, 2 Pajama Cardinals, Lantern bass, Cleaner Wrasse, Six line Wrasse and a cleaner shrimp.
Survived:  1 Snowflake Clown, Watchman Goby, Blueleg crabs, snails, and corals
<Mmm, good that you list what died and didn't...
this reads like the more oxygen needing, more chemically sensitive fishes, shrimp perished... the less dependent didn't... Could be a film on the top of your tank water (very common) created a hypoxic condition... or some sort of metabolite generated in the tank triggered a "cascade effect"... generally w/ microbes producing toxic analogs...>
Sending pic of dead fish just in case it might help.
Thank You in Advance,
<We have a collection of such accounts that you should read; archived here:
the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Flame angel scratching; flukes f'       8/19/13
Hi crew!  I have a Flame Angel in a QT that sometimes hangs out under the HOB filter flow and was scratching against the tank bottom. What could be causing this? 
<A few possibilities; something to do w/ "water quality", just an itch, possible parasitic infestation are the big three likelihoods>

Let me give some info first.  We've been fighting flukes for almost 2 months.
<Mmm, a lean toward the first poss. then>

I've used PraziPro utilizing various protocols which I can give you if needed but the end result has been the same. I used hypo salinity as outlined by B.K. Diggles in the abstract of marine monogea. I finally did a formalin dip last Monday and put into a new tank.  I've watched him all week and no scratching. I began increasing the salinity <actually spg> to introduce him back into the main tank.
<No more than a 0.001/thousandth per day>

On Sunday I saw him scratching on the tank bottom.
<So? May be nothing>
 I prepared a FW dip in a black bucket and dipped him for 5 minutes. No flukes that I could find utilizing a microscope.
<Likely aren't any>
As for hanging out under the filter he lays on his side like he's trying to knock something off. Otherwise his color has come back.
<Ah good>
 His face was faded for nearly 2 months. He eats like a pig.
 Am I just being paranoid or did the formalin dip (20 minutes) not do the trick?
<Already stated>
Please let me know if you need other information. Thank you! Jen
<Cheers, and I'd do nothing further. Bob Fenner>
Re: Flame angel scratching      8/19/13

Hi Bob! Thanks for getting ack so quick! In response to water quality I have an ammonia badge
<Mmm, I don't trust these...>
 on the QT which has registered 0 but he was acting hyper on Friday so I checked the ammonia and it was at .25. I did 2 50% water changes to get down to 0. The ammonia started creeping back up Saturday so I did another water change. Could this cause him to scratch? 
<Oh yes>
I've read salinity can be increased as much as .02 in 24 hrs
<No! MUCH easier "going the other direction", but it should not be raised... as just stated... more than a thousandth a day>
so that is what I was doing. Could that cause scratching?
<... yes>
  I am, however, heeding your advice and increasing by .01.
<You're missing a zero... perhaps a short read on significant figures... Wiki>
I've been dealing with flukes off and on since March and it's getting old.
Thank again! Jen
<Another welcome. B>
<<RMF is now wondering "if" Jen IS spkg. of salinity, NOT spg...>>
Re: Flame angel scratching     8/20/13

Mmmm, yep I don't trust them either. Ok, good to know that both of these can cause scratching. What about him lying sideways under the HOB water flow?  No need for reading on significant figures...just was in a hurry and not paying attention:)
Thank you for answering all these questions! Jen
<Nothing odd re the hiding... due to handling et al... The fish will soon become more outgoing. B>
Re: Flame angel scratching     8/20/13

Oh, he's outgoing!!:)  I can't walk by the room without him flying out from behind his PVC to beg for food. He's been in a QT since June. He contracted Brooklynella from an unquarantined  sea urchin. We beat Brook via a series of formalin dips. It's a long story how he got flukes.
I will begin raising the salinity per your directions. Thank you kind sir:)
<Most welcome Jen. BobF>

Disturbing Fish Fatalities Please Help!      8/15/13
Hi Crew,
Longtime reader, thank you all for your service.  I have a disturbing situation with my 6 month old acrylic tank 150.  Here is some data on the tank as a whole
Tank Size 24x60x24 -center overflow custom made Suncoast aquariums 2 Led Kessil - A350 Lights (aka Blue Tunas) very nice!!!!
Reeflo Dart Pump inline
150 of Gulf/Keywest Rock (15 years old broke down my 90 reef) Thin Layer of Bahamas Oolite sand just enough to cover bottom Phosban 150 reactor converted to bio pellet reactor undersized but already had it why not
AQUAMAXX ECOMAXX EM300 IN-SUMP Protein Skimmer 40 Gallon Glass Sump Drilled with two 1" drains
<Wish (both of us) that these were larger diameter>
 into 7" filter socks changed every 3-7 days
<I'd clean/switch out every day or two
... When visibly dirty, a bunch of chemical/decomposition getting into your water>

Live Stock Currently Living and Thriving in Tank
Maroon Clown, Royal Gramma, Red Eye Dotty back, 5 blue damsels (1 male), 3 green Chromis, 1 pajama Banggai, 1 - coral beauty, 1 bar goby, 1 copper banded butterfly, 4 line wrasse.
1 Large like basketball size green serpent starfish 15 years from my old all glass 90...,
<Ophiarachna? A fish eater as you're likely aware>

 several snails/hermit crabs.
1 - war coral, 1 Favite red and green lps, 1 - green torch frogspawn, red mushrooms, a large colony  of Malaysian green button polyps on three rock formations 300 plus polyps and some, orange, red and green Zoanthids.  all small starting to build the reef more fish and invert in the 90
Livestock Lost...
Over 20 damsels/Chromis,
<Mmm... what did they look like? Any pix? Chromis "do die" often (in droves)... Marks? Too likely Uronema; otherwise, considering the other livestock you list; predation mostly comes to mind. Bob Fenner>

Best Regards,
Frank Sanna
Re: Disturbing Fish Fatalities Please Help!   RMF error       8/15/13

***Sorry hit the enter button accidentally***
***Here is the complete email****Livestock Lost...
<Truncated to fit w/ prev.>
Over 20 damsels/Chromis (some fought, that I do know separation did help some),  1 powder brown tang, 1 butterfly fish , 1 flame angel, 1 yellow goby, 3-4 or four peach Anthias, etc.  never in my life have I had anywhere near this many fatalities please help.
<... something wrong here... system wise>
Water Quality- Nitrate 20 or less, Nitrates 0, Ph 8.1-8.4, alk 9, phosphates less .5 or less,
<... I'd keep under 0.1 ppm. See WWM re>

 calcium in the 400's I am using red sea salt 5% water changes every Sunday....plus general maintenance skimmer socks
My thoughts on the problem...
I use a magic eraser original to clean the tank it has nothing in it
<Uhh, not so. See here/ MSDS:

esp. Section X; has propylene glycol listed as chief ingredient. NOT safe for in-aquarium use>
 and does not scratch the tank like the magnets I have tried, however if you push hard on coralline you will remove the finish if you are aggressive with pressure, light touch is ok.  acrylic safe pad with a wand for the speckles.  (don't believe any toxins or poisons are to be blame here)
<I do>
I have heard some chatter that serpent stars may eat fish when they are big at night?
<Mainly; yes>
The red eye dotty back is small, it was mistakenly sold to me as an Anthias, I know they are aggressive but have not seen any hostility as of yet and have been unsuccessful in trapping him so I gave up.
The filter socks are soaked in a shot glass of bleach to 5 gallons of water then washed with hot water then left to dry 24 hours and reuse. I was told this is ok to do?
The fish that died were doing fine eating thriving, swimming un-harassed, I am truly puzzled. The fish I was able to find were virtually untouched with the exception to the damsels they were beat up.  My goal is and has always to have long living fish, but I cant with clear conscience buy anymore until I determine what is wrong?
 I put the fish in schooling batches to avoid aggression which worked for the most part, but slowly but surely the numbers diminished the fish vanished and little to no evidence of what happen,  so I am stocking the reef seeming the corals are all doing excellent.  I just don't understand how this happening please help.
<My guess is that "something" here triggered a "cascade event", killing the fishes listed... And that considering what died and didn't that there was some sort of chemical, perhaps biochemical series... of poisoning. I'd NOT use the Mr. Clean product; is toxic to aquatic life. Time going by, some use of general chemical filtrants should have removed most all contaminants
by now. Bob Fenner>
Disturbing Fish Fatalities Please Help!   RMF corr.       8/15/13

<Actually... your product:
does list as "None" under chemical... My stance/guess re the losses is the same however. "Something" (perhaps the scrubbing), triggered an allelopathogenic cascade. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/toxicwipeoutf.htm
and the linked files above for a general understanding. BobF>
Disturbing Fish Fatalities Please Help! 8/15/13   James' go

Hi Crew,
<Hello Frank>
Longtime reader, thank you all for your service.  I have a disturbing situation with my 6 month old acrylic tank 150.  Here is some data on the tank as a whole
Tank Size 24x60x24 -center overflow custom made Suncoast aquariums 2 Led Kessil - A350 Lights (aka Blue Tunas) very nice!!!!
Reeflo Dart Pump inline
150lbs of Gulf/Keywest Rock (15 years old broke down my 90 reef)
Thin Layer of Bahamas Oolite sand just enough to cover bottom Phosban 150 reactor converted to bio pellet reactor undersized but already had it why not
40 Gallon Glass Sump Drilled with two 1" drains into 7" filter socks changed every 3-7 days
Live Stock Currently Living and Thriving in Tank
Maroon Clown, Royal Gramma, Red Eye Dotty back, 5 blue damsels (1 male), 3 green Chromis, 1 pajama Banggai, 1 - coral beauty, 1 bar goby, 1 copper banded butterfly, 4 line wrasse.
1 Large like basketball size green serpent starfish 15 years from my old all glass 90..., several snails/hermit crabs.
1 - war coral, 1 Favite red and green lps, 1 - green torch frogspawn, red mushrooms, a large colony  of Malaysian green button polyps on three rock formations 300 plus polyps and some, orange, red and green Zoanthids.  all small starting to build the reef more then in the 90 previously.
Livestock Lost...
Over 20 damsels/Chromis (some fought, that I do know separation did help some),  1 powder brown tang, 1 butterfly fish , 1 flame angel, 1 yellow goby, 3-4 or four peach Anthias, etc.  never in my life have I had anywhere near this many fatalities please help.
Water Quality- Nitrate 20 or less, Nitrates 0, Ph 8.1-8.4, alk 9, phosphates less .5 or less, calcium in the 400's I am using red sea salt 5% water changes every Sunday....plus general maintenance skimmer socks etc...
My thoughts on the problem...
I use a magic eraser original to clean the tank it has nothing in it and does not scratch the tank like the magnets I have tried, however if you push hard on coralline you will remove the finish if you are aggressive with pressure, light touch is ok.  acrylic safe pad with a wand for the speckles.  (don't believe any toxins or poisons are to be blame here)
I have heard some chatter that serpent stars may eat fish when they are big at night?
The red eye dotty back is small, it was mistakenly sold to me as an Anthias, I know they are aggressive but have not seen any hostility as of yet and have been unsuccessful in trapping him so I gave up.
The filter socks are soaked in a shot glass of bleach to 5 gallons of water then washed with hot water then left to dry 24 hours and reuse. I was told this is ok to do?
<Can you smell any trace of bleach after the rinse in hot water?>
The fish that died were doing fine eating thriving, swimming un-harassed, I am truly puzzled. The fish I was able to find were virtually untouched with the exception to the damsels they were beat up.  My goal is and has always to have long living fish, but I cant with clear conscience buy anymore until I determine what is wrong? I put the fish in schooling batches to avoid aggression which worked for the most part, but slowly but surely the numbers diminished the fish vanished and little to no evidence of what happen,  so I am stocking the reef seeming the corals are all doing excellent.  I just don't understand how this happening please help.
<Frank, that basketball starfish may just be the culprit. "One species in  common use warrants a statutory warning. This is the Green Brittle Star of  the genus Ophiarachna. This animal is a predatory fish eater, that does indeed do a spiffy janitorial job when small... but grows quickly, and under darkness of night can/does learn to eat aquarium fishes. This species
has been documented to arch up in "sleeping caves" of captive fishes and drop down on unsuspecting meals. If you use this species, keep an eye on it, and a count on your piscine livestock."  Bob Fenner has written this statement and a search of brittle stars on our website will lead you to it.  I would remove/find a home for the starfish and see if your losses stop.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Disturbing Fish Fatalities Please Help!      8/15/13

James and Bob,
Thank You both.  I will  remove the bristle star tonight it is the big green bristle tooth one as mentioned, so let me see about finding him a home.  Also one correction the phosphate reading .05 less than 1 ppm. a zero makes a big difference.
<Ah yes>
will update with some good news hopefully...

EMERGENCY      8/10/13
Dear Crew,
I need your urgent advice. I got up this morning just to find one of my tanks(97L nano reef) filled up with transparent slimy substance looking more like conjugated water with oxygen trapped in it , floating everywhere covering everything. Never seen or heard about this before.
Pumps stopped working as got filled with slime. There is hardly any coral in this tank which could be suspected.
<Many aquatic organisms can generate copious amounts of mucin/mucus, starting from very little material>
 One clown fish was floating dead wrapped with it. Second clown and scarlet hawkish was on the sand breathing heavily covered as well. I transferred them to my much  larger fish only with live rock system. Some inverts(urchin, starfish , bristle worms) were dead ,few snails and crabs and one starfish still alive were  transferred
in emergency to FO system. Nothing apart from rock and sand is left there anymore.
Done quick stripe test showing no ammonia and nitrite , some nitrate ,pH well below 8.0(not very accurate test) so I’ve added extra buffer plus some Prime to detoxify whatever could cause the problem.
<CHANGE as much of the water as you have available, NOW>
Now my problem is SECOND tank , the one I’ve transferred bits into as the same floating slime gradually starts to form! I don’t know if this is something I’ve transferred on affected specimens or maybe it starts to form independently  for the same underlying reason
but if that’s caused by some sort of bacteria I suspect it could be both. It’s not extremely bad yet as fish behaviour hasn’t changed but I’ve started to prepare for large water change.
Again ,basic  water test in FO system shows  no major concern.
Water in nano tank was changed two days earlier in FO system 10-13 days ago.
The only new chemical I started to use few days ago is Red Sea NO3 PO4 reducer(nano only). Other chemicals are buffer, reef snow, Ca, Mg and 2 other standard  mineral additives.
 <Mmm, any of these additions (except the Snow which isn't much of anything) could "trigger" the reaction/slime>
It will take me good few hours to prepare large volume of water to change and I am hoping to get your reply to get to the bottom of this
(I have a ozone generator , will it help if I use it?)
<Likely worthwhile. Yes>
Kindest regards
<Keep mixing up new water, storing for use. When/where in doubt, change it out. That and some activated carbon, PolyFilter use in the filter/flow path. Bob Fenner>

I'm lost, please help, myst. SW fish losses     7/21/13
Hello Crew,
I really could use some help with my sick blotched Anthias. I purchased him from divers den about 3 months ago, I quarantined him for about 3 weeks and then placed him in my display.
About 2 weeks later the symptoms began, first it was frayed fins, then he wouldn't eat for days at a time and hide when he didn't eat, when he came out he would swim across the tank fast open and closing his mouth rapidly.
<... Mmm>
Then he would start eating and I tried feeding him Metronidazole
<Should only be done once...>
 in his food as he ate right out of my hands when he feeds. Once he got some meds in him he would be good for a few days then stop eating again and hide.
When he was eating and he pooped it was often white and stringy so I dosed him with some Praziquantel in his food as well. I'm trying everything to save this fish.
Last week he started to hide and this time three of my other fish got sick and died within 5 days, they would have no exterior symptoms at all, some flashing and rubbing on rocks, lots of hiding and they stopped eating. Once they stopped eating they were dead within a day or two, once I moved them to the hospital tank and started SeaChem para guard. The hospital tank is
cycled and has been running for months with no ammonia or nitrites and low nitrates, I change the water every few days on the 20g hospital tank.
The three fish that died last week were a blue jaw tile fish, I know it's a difficult fish but I had it for 6 months a orange back fairy wrasse and a bicolor Anthias.

<... these losses... What are the survivors? I see this below>
I moved the blotched Anthias to the hospital tank last week and I'm dosing para guard.
I have a few fish left in my display which I hope to save, I have a sailfin tang, chevron tang, large male flame wrasse, two Banggais, two percula clowns, female bellus angel, one bicolor Anthias and a male lineatus fairy wrasse. The lineatus has stopped eating 3 days ago and it not looking well, I have been trying to catch him with no luck.
He swims good, is still muscular but he is hiding a lot and has white or faded blotchy areas on his skin. I tried to get a picture but he wont let me. All other fish are eating and I'm putting SeaChem KanaPlex in there food to try to prevent anymore loss.
My set up is a 180 reef tank with lps and leathers, geo cal reactor, 40 gallon MRC custom sump with bio chamber and SeaChem matrix, vertex alpha 200 skimmer, I run HC GFO from bulk reef and carbon. I run a emperor aquatics 40wt UV as well.
I tested today and my perimeters are, cal-430, alk 9.6 dKH, mag-1280, phos-0, nitrate-.5, ammonia-0, nitrite-0.
Please help me out as I am loosing my prized fish and I don't want to loose <lose> anymore.
I would appreciate any info you can give me
Thank you   
Joe Marino
<What else livestock-wise is in this system? Cnidarians, recent live rock addition/s? Bob Fenner>

Re: I'm lost, please help    7/22/13
Hi Bob,
Thanks for the fast response, to answer your question the only other livestock are snails and hermit crabs.
The only recent addition was the blotched Anthias, about 3 months ago as far as fish.
I added a couple of corals and the last one being about a month ago, a sunflower coral.
<The Dendrophylliid I take it>
I dip all my new addition corals in coral RX for about 10 min.
<Not a fan... should be isolated, acclimated over weeks' time. See WWM re Cnidarian allelopathy>
Here are some changes and events that have happened in the past few months, maybe there is something that might be the cause.
I did install a new MRC custom sump with the new vertex alpha skimmer about a month ago, in doing so I installed all new plumbing for my system. The old sump had a small refugium inside and now i do not use a refugium anymore.
<What life had you placed there?>
The system was down for about 6 hours but the temp held steady for the most part. I ran carbon as soon as I was done to clean up the water.
My system is monitored by an apex and about two months ago I started to notice the ph dipping to about 7.80 at night and no more then 8.05 during the day falling from about 8.2 during the day and 8.0 at night.
<Not really problematical>
This change happened over about two weeks, so I figured it was due to the calcium reactor and I started to add Kalk to my auto top off, I add 4 tsp per 5 gallons of RO top off water.
Now the ph ranges from 7.95 at night to 8.19 during the day and it varies every day. I know it's not a big difference but I'm just trying to think of everything that has happened.
<Thank you; and again, this shift is natural, w/in range; not an issue>
I added some love <live?> rock about 4 months ago, or maybe longer then that. I forgot
<Mmm, this is still my first guess as to source of your troubles here. "Something" imported with the rock>
I started using Dr. Tim's re-fresh about a week ago, but I dosed only 1/4 of what they recommend, I have a very small Cyano patch that lives on one of my rocks.
<Mmm, could be "it">

 I only dosed it once as I wanted to get to the bottom of this problem before I worried about the Cyano.
One more issue with one of my fish that I forgot to mention, about 3 weeks ago my sailfin started to get holes around his eyes which clearly looks like hole in the head disease, it has not moved down the lateral line as of yet. He is a ferocious eater so I now feed him Nori before I feed the rest of the fish in an attempt to get him to not eat so much meaty foods, I also add vitamin c to the Nori.
That's about all of the events I can think of in the past few months, sorry for the long emails but I'm just trying to be as detailed as I can I appreciate your help
Thank you
Joe Marino
<Well; am leaning (still, guessing) to the transient biological poisoning possibility... Fixing same? Water changes, paying attention to gross water quality, use of carbon, perhaps PolyFilter or such. Bob Fenner>

Re: acclimatization; Mmm, sand use in QT sys., BF dis f's    7/1/13
Hello my Mentor. :)
<Hola Tomasz!>
Regarding the sand I was concerned about whether to keep the fish in tanks shop with sand or without it, how is better. Ok invalid.
<With sand is better unless the water, fish is being treated with chemical/s that absorb it too much>
In  Annex I send photo, if you could see and write what kind of disease (bacteria / parasites). Is it contagious? if so, how to treat other fish?
How to prevent.
<Looks like this Klein's Butterfly has been consumed by some sort of flesh eating bacteria. But such infections are almost always secondary; caused by primary challenges of the environment, some lack of nutrition, bullying, luminal worm, external parasite issue/s... The bacteria only jumping in number, pathogenicity due to weakening of the fish/food consequently.
Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm
I installed on my system ozone. At this time, ORP is 270mV, I understand that it would be best as that was 400mV?
<Yes; between 325 and 400 mV>
Thanks again for help Bob.
<Ah welcome. Bob Fenner>

Massacre in two tanks in one day. Mis-stocking, study      6/13/13
I have two new saltwater tanks that are about 8 weeks old. One is 125 gal. The other is 55 gal.  I used R.O. Water to start the tanks as I own a car wash that produces R.O. Water.
<Nice to have such a ready source, volume>
 I only had live rock and a few snails and crabs in each. The water in both tanks has been testing great
<Mmm, need test values if they're pertinent>

 and I started adding more fish the large tank has three small tangs
<Uhh, Acanthurids don't often get along...>

 two clowns and seven damsels. The small tank had two clowns and six "pajamas" and a purple angel.
<? What is this last? A tang, Zebrasoma xanthurum?>

 On Tuesday we did a 20% water change with both tanks, cleaned the filters and added a cleanup crew I ordered from live aquaria online.
<A very good source>
That evening the water levels were still right on and everything looked good.  In the morning one of the new tangs was dead.
<... Stop. Need to know what species you're talking here>
 I called my fish guy and he said it could be from not eating or just a sick fish from the beginning, he was only in the tank two weeks. So I left the house for about three hours and when I got back all the fish in both tanks were dead but all the snails and crab and anenimy
<... what species is this? And Anemones/Actinarians shouldn't be placed in such new systems>

 (forgot to mention those) were alive still.
<... the anemone is the current most likely culprit...>
The tanks are both still testing fine, no ammonia all other levels are in the safe zone...
<For what can be, you're testing. There's MUCH more>
even the fish guy is stumped and he does this for a living...
<I did this for a few decades>
the only common denominator in both tanks was the R.O. Water and the new livestock.  I'm now afraid to ever ad anymore fish until we figure out what happened...got any suggestions?
<... Well; yes. To slow down here... stop placing livestock, start reading... ahead of simply buying life and placing it where it can't go. Let's start with the beginning... what general reference works (books) have you read? Bob Fenner>
Re: Massacre in two tanks in one day. Mar. dis. f'      6/14/13

Attention: Bob Fenner
Thanks for responding so fast. The tangs were two yellow, and one blue with yellow tail. They were getting along great.
<Ah good>
The anemones were in the tank for two weeks with the fish.
<Again, and now there are more than one? They don't "go" in new systems, and can react disastrously to changing conditions; killing off fish and some invertebrate livestock>
The water tests were 0 ammonia , NO3 0ppm, NO2 .03ppm, alkalinity 300 ppm,
pH 8.0
I'm new to this, so I don't have the names down but it was a purple color with yellow on its belly and the shape of a South African cichlid. But there was only one in the small tank, none in the large tank.
The tang that died first was one of the yellow tangs.
The anemones were placed in the tank a week after the fish after everything tested well.
<... no. Whose idea, input led you to believe they could be placed?>
<Please read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm
and the Compatibility FAQs linked above for the group and species you have>
 They have tall orange colored bodies with finger looking tentacle with bright purple tips. The only new livestock was the snails and crabs from live aquaria.
I haven't read a lot, I had been researching info on the Internet for weeks before I started. Then I hired a professional and have been getting advice from local pet stores that specialize in salt water tanks.
<Okay... but better to delve a bit more yourself, make your own decisions>
If you don't know of something that could have poisoned the tanks that came from the clean up crew, than it would have to be a problem with my RO water. That is the only two things that changed in the last 24 hours.
<Does your commercial system have a "contactor" system, removable/changed-out cylinder by a service company? Or is it just the tris membranes?>
The fact that both tanks crashed in a three hour time period, 24 hours after the water change is wired. I know we shouldn't have added new live stock and done a water change and cleaned the filters at the same time, could this cause the massacre?
<Again; not likely, unless there IS something about the water...
I do agree that something very coincidental is going on if both systems crashed so soon and close to each other... a few hours after the partial change out.
You could test the RO water with some inexpensive livestock... BobF>
Re: Massacre in two tanks in one day. SW trbsht. f'; RO?       6/16/13

Thanks for the reply. I don't believe the RO tank has a contactor system - there is a filter the water passes through first,
<What is in this first filter? How often is it serviced? Call the folks who do this work for you and ask what the media is, and how it is recharged>

and a 'membrane'/filter that it goes through second. What are the hazards related to not having a contactor system?
<... too many to list; some materials in some source water can "clog" the RO membrane... foremost>
Before the water goes to the RO tank it passes through the soft water tank, which is tested for hardness by the city. If this systems backflow valve failed and chemicals were introduced that may likely be the cause but I would think that would have killed everything not just the gilled livestock.
<Hard to say w/o knowing what was introduced>
In regard to the anemone - I understand your position, but could you explain how they can be so toxic?
<... please learn to/use the search tool on WWM. Much of all this is gone over and over, archived on the site. B>
 Do they have the capacity to poison the tank water or are they dangerous only to fish they come into contact with?
Thank you

Commercial fish losses, SW     5/14/13
Hello Mr. Fenner,
My name is Tom and I come from Poland (Eastern Europe).
Already looked through Your web page several times, inspired on it to acclimate. I have a question. I have a marine aquarium shop and I import animals from Indonesia (travel time of fish around 27 - 30 hours).The whole process of acclimatization is as follows;
- Check the pH and temperature of the water transport of fish
- Preparing the water from  system with the appropriate pH.
- I am adding Methylene blue to the water
.- I give the water droplet method
- I add air stones
- The acclimatization process takes approximately 10 - 11h
So in a nutshell. I would like to ask you about the chemical changes in the body of fish, especially of ammonia. All fish live about 10 - 14 days without any loss at this time begin to die, not all but some have on your body staining red. I would like to make my acclimatization was brought to perfection. I understand that this is the cause of action of ammonia, but if there is the possibility of the extension of acclimatization to say 15 - 20h or other factors, to avoid the health of the fish (ammonia poisoning)? If I have the poisoned fish in the transport bag, this process is not reversible, and ends with the death of the fish?
Despite a long acclimatization?
I would  my cause all the animals were healthy and enjoyed the owner for a long time. I would be very grateful for all information / guidance.
Sorry for my language i hope You understand.
Best Regards
<Mmm, well the red body markings and "incubation" time bring to mind Vibrio... Not likely due, or very related to your exhaustive acclimation procedure. This process should take no more than a few hours. Do you have a ORP/RedOx means of measure? Use Ozone in your facility?>
Thanks for quick answer,  what is Vibrio ? Is bacteria? No, i don't use ozone, I do not have the meter ORP/REDOX in an aquarium fish. A good solution would be a longer acclimatization 20 - 24h ?This could help prevent the occurrence the red  body of the fish? Thanks for your help.
<Vibrio is a genus of bacteria... sometimes important (very) in marine fish culture. I do encourage you to delve/read re Ozone use, the measure of ORP... a very useful tool for monitoring water quality. Longer acclimation won't help. BobF.>
I am writing as requested.     5/15/13

<From FB, good>
How do I get rid of the bacteria? Is there a way?
<Yes... the best is through prevention: in turn from optimizing water quality. DO search WetWebMedia.com re Bacterial Disease>
How long do you propose to acclimate the fish with 30-hour stay in the bag?
<Should only take a few hours maximum. See Commercial Acclimation on WWM>
I'm using the UV sterilizer fish. the use of ozone can help?
<Yes; though the UV does produce O3... I'd measure RedOx first here>
I'm sorry that it takes up your time
<Why I'm here>
Best Regards
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
/Pozdrawiam Tomasz Burkat/
Ocean Life-Akwarystyka Morska
Re: acclimatization  5/16/13

Thank You very much, for any advice.
If I have any questions I can write? you do not mind?
All the best
<Please do write me Tom. There are a few ideas I'd like to introduce to you... the use of microscopes, perhaps you developing a liaison with a local college and veterinary practice there. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: acclimatization, ongoing dis. troubleshooting, comm.    5/17/13

<Welcome Tom>
I have a question, if I may ask.
You write about acclimatization  for few hours, and if pH in bag is 7 pH or mostly lower,
This few hours acclimatization with raising the pH to 8.2 pH value, will not adversely affect the health of the fish?
<Oh, indeed it will... hence the need to raise... back up, to your systems pH, over time...>
how does it affect the health of the fish few hours acclimatization? For example, a slowly acclimate for 15 -20 hours? I'm very curious.
<There is a "trade off" here, with the stress/strain in the balance in exchange for more rapid adjustment. Better to do all this in a few hours, versus a few tens of hours>
during the acclimatization of fish I use Methylene blue, I was wondering about the use of antibiotics during acclimatization what do you think?
<I do like the use of Methylene Blue. Have never used Antibiotics, nor heard of folks employing during acclimation>
you are my mentor in this field. :)
<Am glad to share what I know, suspect and have heard/read from others with you>
Thank You and I wish You a nice weekend.
<Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>
All the Best

Wrasse bacterial infection     4/17/13
Hi crew! I've been treating a Yellow Wrasse, Flame Angel and a Goby in a QT with PraziPro for 2 weeks. Three days ago the Wrasse hid in the small bowl of sand I put in there for him. He didn't come out at all. Today I got him out and he had red blotches on his belly. I figured he had a secondary bacterial infection from the flukes.
<More likely just stress, being moved...>
 I set up a hospital tank for him and by the time I went to get him out he was dead. I took a picture of him (attached) and was hoping someone could tell me if this is indicative of a bacterial infection? Also do I need to worry about the other fish in the tank? Thank you! Jen
<May be bacterial... secondary. The mark dorsally on the caudal peduncle looks more like the after-effects of a bite to me. I would be concerned re the other fishes period. Move them back to the main/display ASAPractical.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Wrasse bacterial infection     4/17/13
Hi Bob! The main tank has only been fallow for 15 days. I have done a ton of research as to the fallow period for flukes but can not find any consistent answers. Some responses say 2 weeks, others say 12 weeks. The Flame and Wrasse had flukes and so far the Flame looks good, eating good, etc. I have one more round of PraziPro to go. 
Should I be concerned as far as the safety of the other fish in the tank or because of spread of infection? Thank you, Jen
<Just the overall stress level/s. BobF>
Re: Wrasse bacterial infection

Will do! Thanks Bob!
<Ah, welcome Jen. BobF>

Disease Identification... Marine Disease> Protozoan?> Crypt?> ID f'    4/10/13
Hello WWM Crew!
I have a couple of questions regarding disease identification and treatment.
Tank info: Fish only, 55 gallons, 3 months old, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 5, pH 8.0, salinity 1.010 (undergoing hyposalinity right now).
<... see WWM re>
Inhabitants: 1 Flame angelfish, 1 royal gramma, 1 Barrett's Anthias, 1 Striped mandarin fish (which is eating Selcon/Vita-chem. supplemented Nutramar ova and can be fed pods from a culture I have if he starts losing weight), and 2 tank-bred ocellaris clowns. All fish quarantined for 3 weeks before introduction.
I know that hypo is not a great idea with clownfish, but I'm afraid my fish may have Ich and, for moral reasons, I'd prefer to lose the tank-bred clownfish because of hyposalinity (I'm happy to have paid money to support this industry) than lose the wild-caught flame angel because of copper.
<There are other (better, more effective, sure) treatments; i.e. quinine compounds. See WWM re>
I've been watching the clownfish and they are very lively with good appetites. Hypo treatment has been going for 5 days now. Would you please help me diagnose?
<Need samples and a microscope... all else is guessing>
Symptoms consistent with Ich: small .5-1mm spots that disappear in a few days, spots do not move from place to place on the fish, somewhat rapid breathing, visible on all fish (each fish only has between 1 and 5 visible spots but this number is growing slowly), no excess mucus being produced.
Symptoms that don't match Ich: the spots are more of a greyish/white translucent color, growth in number of spots over time seems slower than usual for Ich (although this may be due to the hyposalinity treatment limiting them), fish are not scratching on rocks but do twitch on very rare occasions, all fish have 1 or more spots, spots are located on the body but not on the fins (yet).
I already treated the fish with general cure (Metronidazole and Praziquantel) during quarantine, so I don't think worms are the issue. Do you think the fish have Ich or something else?
<Can only guess w/ what is presented. Again, simple enough to do a real look/see... from what you describe, these markings, mucus could well be just body slime, reaction to the med. exposure, handling and low spg>
 If so, I'd rather not treat with copper... After doing a lot of digging and research, I have found some info on Chloroquine Phosphate and Quinine Sulfate (Crypto-Pro).
<Ah yes; preferred treatments currently>
From cruising WWM, it seems that you prefer Chloroquine Phosphate out of those two. Do you think that this medication will eradicate whatever protozoan/parasite my fish have?
<... I would NOT treat them, these fishes, w/o sampling and examination.
ALL treatments are toxic, debilitating in kinds, degrees>
Also, can it be combined with hyposalinity? If you think I should just do hypo, I'd love to know that. But I'd still like to know if CP or QS is safe in combination with it. I know copper is not. Finally, does either CP or QS stain aquarium sealant, decorations, etc? Since the tank only contains the fish, dead base rock that was bought dry, and nitrifying bacteria that I added from the brand "Stability," I'd like to treat that tank.
Thank you for you advice and this wonderful resource! Sorry for the lengthy email. I have realized that attention to detail is essential in this hobby. Brielle
<Welcome little Bri. Bob Fenner>
Re: Disease Identification– 04/10/13

Thank you for your advice, Bob! I'll stop the hypo treatment and continue to watch the fish/not treat them. I am hoping that you can answer the last questions on my email though, in case the symptoms worsen. I have had saltwater fish before (about five years ago) and they died from an Ich outbreak because I didn't know how to handle it.
<This is, unfortunately, the "end" to many salt water aquarists involvement in the hobby. Worse/worst for the fact that if people in the collection to wholesale ends of the trade would employ simple pH adjusted freshwater dips/baths, the vast majority of such infestations would be avoided>
I would love to have the proper knowledge/medications on hand, since I have to order meds online and know they take awhile to arrive. I know Ich is very common, so since I am still quarantining/introducing fish to this tank, I'd like to have the proper med. on hand and the knowledge on how to use it correctly. Your thoughts are much appreciated!
1. Is Chloroquine Phosphate more effective than Quinine Sulfate?
2. Can either/both of these be combined with hypo?
<Not really; no>
3. Does either CP or QS stain aquarium sealant, decorations, etc?
<Neither do; though semi-semi-relatedly they're both better applied in lower (less bright) light settings>
4. It seems that these two meds harm the biological filter somewhat, but don't completely disable it. Is this true?
Again, thank you so much for your help!
Little Bri :D
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
Re: Disease Identification– 04/10/13

Have a wonderful day and thank you for the quick responses!
Little Bri
<Ahh! B>

Sailfin tang help, and trigger... anomalous hlth. issue     4/4/13
So  I have had my sailfin tang for nearly a year. He ate everyday pellets, frozen foods, and seaweed. He stopped eating out of nowhere I have dipped his food in garlic and nothing. He also has like a ball that I just noticed on his stomach to make it worst he swims weird now, he bobs his head down a lot. What ever he has has taken my Niger trigger as well please help
my fish.
<... the root/cause here could be a few... for worm parasites I'd try a treatment of an anthelminthic here (see WWM, search w/ the term); likely Praziquantel (note that other worms will be killed in the process)... There might be something going on w/ water quality, so I'd do a series of good-sized water change-outs, try some activated carbon, perhaps PolyFilter in your filter or water flow path... Lastly, all else failing, I'd move the mal-affected fishes elsewhere; to another established system. Bob Fenner>

Help Needed!! Anomalous marine fish losses     1/30/13
Hello my friend !!!
Here is a photo for you.
This lori was into my reef aquarium for about 3 months without any problems ever. Along with him is a Zebrasoma xanthurus and a Salarias and a Guttata.
<Not altogether obviously>
Yesterday morning we noticed a very tiny piece that was missing from his upper fin. Into a few hours the problem was growing bigger and bigger and some other pieces of his body where turning "pale" let's say. Like losing it's colors. My father added an ozonizer but the wound kept going bigger and bigger until we lost him today morning.
Any clue what was this?? Or what happened after all this time??
<In this short a time frame? Something eating the Flame>
The same thing happened at a ciliaris
<A "ciliaris" what?>
20 cm that I received from TMC. Here you go with the situation back then. I received a large ciliaris from TMC that was absolutely great , maybe one of the best ciliaris I have ever seen!! It's colors , it's attitude , everything. The same day I received fishes from Indonesia. So in the same aquarium I kept ciliaris I added some small Valenciennea strigata from indo. After 2 days a problem similar to them photo started at the end of the upper fin of ciliaris , starting losing it's color and it's body  We once again added an ozonizer without results ,
<What does the RedOx measure here?>
 so we also lost this fish. I assumed though that strigata from indo had some bacteria problems that pass on the ciliaris so I believed that was my mistake , but with lori I do not know what happened so I need your help.
I would appreciate it if this could stay between us ;) you can understand why ;)
Best regards
<Bob Fenner>

Re: Help Needed!! SW fish losses, anomalous   1/30/13
What do you mean altogether??? Not altogether anymore?? Yes indeed.
<That the Tangs or Algae Blenny might well be picking on these fishes>
What could possibly eat the flame from these fishes???
<As above... any>
A Holacanthus Ciliaris.
<A Queen Angel... usually very tough>
So you believe that has to do with RedOx??
<... may be... again, the reading, confirmed? B>
Re: Help Needed!!   1/31/13

About Ciliaris , what do you think?? Could be bacteria that came along with Indo fish??
<Not to kill, digest it in a few hours time, no. B>
I will send you the RedOx measurement tomorrow.

Mysterious fish deaths 1/21/13
I have been in the saltwater hobby for about 4 1/2 years.  I started out with FOWLR tank, but for the past year or so have been gradually adding several low-light requiring and easy to care for soft corals, including mushrooms, Kenya Tree Coral, and some button polyps.  In November I added a toadstool. 
<Okay... you're aware I take it, of the sorts of chemical warfare the Shrooms, Polyps and Sarcophyton commonly engage in>
Tank is 75 gallon.  Currently lit by a fixture with actinic and daylight T5, one fixture with a marine bulb, T8, and a glow stick with an bluish marine light bulb.  Anyways, I have ordered an LED lighting system which is supposed to be a replacement for metal halide, and will provide higher lighting level.  Also recently added a bare- bottomed 20 gallon fuge/sump with Chaeto under my tank.  Current tank params are:  Ammonia and Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20 ppm (adding the fuge recently is in hopes of getting the nitrate down further).  Have deep sand bed, Aqua C Remora skimmer, use 1/2 Instant Ocean and 1/2 Instant Ocean Reef for my salt mix for replacement water.  I do weekly water changes.  Currently my fish are:  a Cleaner Shrimp, a Yellow Tang, a Coral Beauty Angelfish, two small Ocellaris Clowns a Royal Gramma, a Banggai Cardinalfish, and numerous (mostly small) snails to stir up the deep sand bed and eat algae and detritus.
Anyways, my problem is, since shortly before Christmas I have been experiencing strange fish deaths.  What happens is a fish will seem fine, and then all of a sudden it will rapidly dash all over the place in one area of the tank, and then turn over dead and sink to the bottom.  This happened to a Royal Gramma 8 days before Christmas, then to a Blue Reef Chromis 8 days later. 
<... so... guess thus far, some sort of allelopathy... alluded to above. The sump/refugium should help>
I haven't noticed any symptoms of illness prior to this happening.  Thought maybe it was stray voltage in the tank, and checked with a voltmeter and there did seem to be a low level (4 volts) of stray voltage. 
<Eh! This much can actually be induced... by rotating a charged solution in space... how electricity is made in one common way>
Replaced a pump, and the stray voltage seemed to disappear.   I thought I had the problem solved, and then yesterday, close to a month later, it happened again and I lost my remaining Blue Reef Chromis.
What could be causing this?  My male Ocellaris and Coral Beauty occasionally seem to pick on other fish, but only rarely, that I have noticed.  Today I was wondering if the toadstool I got could be releasing a toxin, since it doesn't seem to be very happy, since it fell in the tank recently.  (By the way, the first incident of this happening was not long after I got the toadstool). 
Any ideas you might have on what the problem might be and how I can resolve it would be much appreciated.
Thank you
Marlyce G
<Well, the one damsel lost may be anomalous; but I'd have you read on WWM:
and the linked (FAQs) files above... some recommendations are presented of worth/note, in using chemical filtrants, an appropriate approach to introducing new Cnidarian life principally. Do write back if you're not clear on this after reading. Bob Fenner>

Fish deaths and other "new fish" questions 1/18/2013
Hi Crew, Hope 2013 is finding all of you in good health. I have a few questions about some recent (as in the last 8 months) fish deaths I've had plus some questions on some new fish I have gotten. Tank is 125 gal, 30 gal sump, 30 gal refugium...The sump & refugium are just a couple months old. I previously had a 25 gal sump with no refugium. About 8 months ago, my Copperband butterfly fish that I've had for 5 years got real skinny, even though he was eating, and finally passed on. Tested my parameters, Sg 1.025, no ammonia, nitrite, nitrate 40 ppm (hence the refugium addition) and calcium, magnesium have always been on the high side (can't remember exact figures) Seachem reef salt is what I have always used. About a couple of months ago I added the new sump and refugium, this entailed the break down of my tank so the fish, Hippo tang, 2 Ocellaris Clownfish, Harlequin Tusk, Foxface Rabbitfish, Algae Blenny, 1 RBTA, and 2 big pieces of live rock were housed in the 30 gallon long refugium for about 5 hours while the fish guys went to town. Rest of the LR was in buckets. Two days later my RBTA split, I'm sure due to stress so I wasn't that surprised. A couple weeks after that, my tusk started acting weird, laying on the sand on his side, not coming out to eat and I could tell he was on his way out. I got the tusk, butterfly, and Foxface all around the same time 5/6 years ago. Two days later he was gone and was fished out shortly after. No visible wounds.
<Mmm, what is coming to mind here? Something re continuous exposure to NO3, what it might entail... the high biomineral content of the water?>
The next day, I did a 40 gallon water change, checked parameters, all the same as above. Had a big diatom breakout but with the new sand in the refugium and some more added to the tank I wasn't surprise, and am currently in battle with some Cyano (added another Vortech) and a bigger skimmer (Octopus Diablo). No new Live Rock, just rearranged to give a bigger swimming area. <All sounds good>
Well, ever since the Tusk died, my Foxface has that stressed coloring and will not come out from behind the rocks when any one is near, when I watch him from afar, I see him swimming about and playing by the new Vortech MP40 as I'm sure he is loving the increased flow but he still has the stress colors. He used to come right up and stick his head in the net that I use to feed them with but now he just hides with that stressed coloring. Only additions since the Tusk died, is a small derasa clam, 1 Lyretail Anthias, a blood shrimp, and a blue spotted Jawfish who's home is the refugium (only one with a top). The Foxface is about 5 or 6 years old now and the biggest fish in my tank. Could this be why he is stressed? Checked water parameters, still the same, GRRR with the nitrate!!
<Any room there, in the main system for a DSB of size/volume?>
I feed PE Mysis and H2O's mixed reef and fish food soaked in Selcon. Been a little heavy handed with the Jawfish but he's eating good. As far as the Anthias, the female was the only one left at the fish store but I wanted to add a couple more when they come in and have been there for a couple of weeks. Would I be able to do this or since she's in there by herself, is it too late now that she is finding her own niche?
<Better to add the extra females>
Thanks again....Perhaps it's old age, goodness knows, I feel it myself!!
<Oh yes... on a dive outing currently with (surprise!) two more folks older than I. I'd add the DSB if possible/practical, and for general principle/practice, some activated carbon, perhaps a pad of PolyFilter in your filter/water flow path... These "anomalous losses" worry me as well. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fish deaths and other "new fish" questions 1/18/2013
Thanks for the quick response Bob. I'm working the DSB, started at 3 inches, working my way up to 6 in the refugium, tried adding red Gracilaria (sp??)
<Ah, yes. genus Gracilaria... "Ogo" in Hawaii/an>
didn't do well so I ordered some Chaeto.
<Also a good choice>
With the new sump I have filter socks instead, thinking of removing these, could they be a contributing factor?
<Oh yes... I'd at least switch them out, rotate clean daily... yes, every
day. Or do away w/ completely>
I also want to get a PhosBan reactor to put carbon in,
<Mmm, see WWM re... not a fan of by and large. Not needed; and some important downsides>
I've read it's better if the water is forced through it and with the filter socks, it's not really forced through. Have fun with your Dive. I'll just continue to freeze up here in Minnesota. I'm jealous.
<Brrrrrr! BobF>

Disappearing Burrowing Fish    11/24/12
Hello there,
Way back in June, I purchased my first Jawfish, a yellowhead. He was doing great, had a burrow, ate aggressively, and his fins were healing up from when I bought him. Then ( I think I had him for at LEAST 2.5 weeks) I did a pretty big water change, my parameters were good, but I figured I might as well do one. I did it with offshore ocean water that had been in dark storage and capped for a while.
<A good two weeks if it were my S.O.P.>
 Then, the JF stopped putting a rock over his burrow at night, for two nights, then, he disappeared. I couldn't find him on the floor, pasted against a powerhead or overflow, and the biggest fish in my tank is a 1-2 inch ocean surgeonfish. I never found him, didn't experience an ammonia spike, and no corals shriveled, and I don't think the water change did him in since the other fish didn't react to it.
<Mmm, maybe>
I think his burrow may have caved in.
<Almost always can/do dig themselves back out>
Now, I lost a goldenhead goby. He had a burrow (Do they burrow normally?)
 RIGHT on the jawfish's old burrow. He was
pretty shy, didn't eat when everyone else did, but ate the pellets i dropped in his burrow. He started getting used to the tank and started sifting freely outside of his burrow, and now he's gone again. I think it might've been another cave in, except that NOTHING on top of the burrow shifted, and the burrow is underneath a huge piece of LR that spans about 1 foot. It's been less than a day since he went missing, but it's disheartening to see another burrowing fish disappear so quickly, especially if he has the same burrow as the JF.
Thanks a ton!
<Mmm, well, I should ask re the make-up (size, shape, amount) of your substrate... to assure, urge that it is something appropriate. Next, there may be predator (unknown) like a large Bristleworm, a pistol or mantis shrimp here... I would try baiting, trapping (at night, see WWM re techniques, under "Compatibility FAQs for each group)... Bob Fenner> 

I keep losing new additions to my marine tank    11/16/12
<Hello Glenda>
 I have a 400L reef tank which has been running since June, live rock, invertebrates, coral and fish.
I cycled my tank for 6 weeks before adding any live stock.
I do a weekly water change and my ammonia, nitrates etc are always zero, pH spot on.
I run skimmer, chiller, bio balls and Rowa Phos in a bed filter. Led lights and Vortech  MP40W Es fans.
My problem is all my corals, invertebrates and the first fish I added to the tank an  Angel beauty,
Six line wrasse and Red hawk fish are great. But now every time I add any new fish to the tank they die.
<Possibly killed by one of the inhabitants. The Hawk and Angel will not accept there own genus. Six lines can be quite rambunctious.>
If there was a disease in the tank wouldn’t it kill my older fish too?
The new fish always are eating and seem happy then overnight they just die.
I don’t quarantine my new arrivals as I live in a unit and just don’t have the space.
<This is a time bomb; QT tanks can be small.>
I am at a loss as to what is causing this.
<Stressed, sick, aggression... The list is long. Using a proper QT would allow for observation and help determine the cause. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i4/quarantine/Quarantine.htm >
Please help
Re: I keep losing new additions to my marine tank 11/16/12
Thanks for getting back to me so soon regarding my problem, I will set up a quarantine tank before I add any new additions.
<Wonderful, this will definitely help you in the long term.>
Just a little concerned as to how to go about this, will have to read up on it more. I thought the quarantine tank had to be cycled like the display tank,
Otherwise how do I keep ammonia, nitrates etc under control.
<Water changes. Read more here on QT setup and use-- http://www.wetwebmedia.com/QuarMarFishes.htm  >

Fish died in 24 hours      8/26/12
Hi, just found your website and its very helpful.  We have a 5ft marine tank (corals and fish) with sump. We use carbon and have uv sterilizer (bulb changed regularly).  A few weeks ago we had an outbreak of Whitespot which killed off two thirds of our fish.
<No fun>
 We changed sterilizer bulb although it showed as not needing to be changed.  The Whitespot seemed to clear and for a week or so the other fish seemed healthy, then all of a sudden they started to die.
 The would gasp for breath at the bottom of the tank but still eating and within 48 hours would be dead but have no obvious signs of parasites, sores etc.  All water tests are within range (shop has tested water to).
<Need your own kits... samples change over time, transport>
  Have not done a copper test yet but will tomorrow.
<?... the soft corals would be dead if there was appreciable Cu>
  Left tank with no fish for four weeks, then added a damsel.  The damsel died within 24 hours.  We use no products or sprays as I am allergic to most things and wash and rinse our hands thoroughly if for any reason we need to put hands in the tank (will use gloves from now on).
 We have checked all appliances for damage and have found nothing. Please help.
Jamie and Terry
<I fully suspect there is/was some sort of "cascade event" w/ the challenging of your fishes, likely in turn eliciting an overt reaction from your "Soft Corals" (please list by species, genera if you write back)...
with them releasing toxins in the water... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/envdisphysiof.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Fish died in 24 hours     8/27/12
Bob, Thank you for your quick response. I followed your link and read through the articles.  It made me remember that before we had the Whitespot the tank was overrun with long haired green algae on the rocks and red algae on the sand.
<These might well have been Blue Greens (Cyanobacteria)... see WWM re>
   We bought some urchins and a sea hare
<This last often problematical as well... most sold in the trade are temperate species, not tropical... again... see WWM re>
and it finally cleared. Shortly after this the fish came down with Whitespot etc The corals we have are as follows: Green Star polyps (Pachyclavularia Violacea)
<Quite toxic>
Hammer Coral (Euphyllia Parancora)
<... almost assuredly an allelopathogenic situation>
- hasn't opened for 3 days Hairy Mushrooms (Rhodactis Sp) Actinodiscus Mushrooms Duncan's Coral (Duncanopsammia Axifuga)Pulse Coral (Xenia Sp) Birds Nest Coral (Seriatopora Hystrix) - starting to bleach Gorgonian Tree (Pacific Gorgonian Sulawesl)
<.... see WWM re each>
Montipora Our Starfish and crabs are fine and we have two clams that are healthy as well.  We can't find our peppermint shrimps (although that's no surprise as they usually hide in the rocks). I hope how I have listed our corals is OK. Jamie and Terry
<Stop writing and get reading. B>

Re: Itchy Fish. SW... disease diagnosis     8/21/12
Bob, I am writing not to argue but it seems we were both wrong here. I looked extensively on the internet in regards to disease symptoms none of which that I could find matches bacterial or fungal infections and I decided as my copper levels were very low and the symptoms did not resemble Ich or Oodinium I was at a loss, the only symptoms were large grey blotches over the body and loss of appetite.
<... Microscopic examination...>
Sadly the Regal Angel died. What I found strange is that descriptions for bacterial and fungal infections listed symptoms like stringy white matter, red fins etc. I decided to treat with Mardel Maracyn Plus which contained a part description matching and after 4 days the Emperor is eating and the blotches are gone.
<Ah good>
The reason I write is to hopefully help others where the symptoms are the same without the fast breathing of Ich and Oodinium.  Regards, Adam.

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