I am really starting to think that these chronic bacterial issues stem from breeding activity.  Last week, things were good, I saw a little pre-spawn activity and now once again, come Friday the 13th, there’s a white spot on the Lightning Maroon’s upper lip. By Saturday, it was already well infected, and now, come Sunday, it’s no better, and the mate has a cloudy eye.

Dr. Kizer had set me up with a prescription for Baytril®, or Enrofloxacin.  It was presecribed in a liquid form (presumably the injectable form) to be mixed into a gel food for a 30 day treatment via medication laced food.  I selected the Repashy line of Gel Foods which recently came on the scene, making great inroads into the hobbyist world and garnering strong positive feedback.  I purchased the food from my friend Ted Judy via TedsFishroom.com – I picked the community mix, but Ted also threw in a free bag of the “Spawn and Grow” formulation.  It’s a good thing he did, because most of the marine fish here now refuse the Community formulation, but they like the high-fat, high-calorie spawn and grow.  After some experimenting with mixing times and quantities, I got the mix down as 3 tablespoons of water in my microwave for 1 minute.  Then, mix in one tablespoon of the dry Spawn & Grow powder mix.  Stirring it for one minute, that was just shy of the time it would take where the gel would first really harden up.  It was at that point that I placed the liquid Baytril into the mix, stirred like crazy, hoped it got mixed in well, and then put it in the fridge to set.  Once set, I popped it in the freezer, later cut it into 30 equal portions, and was now set with daily dosages for the Lightning Maroon’s tank.  Here’s how the process all goes:

Getting started...

3 tablespoons of water in the microwave for about a minute, until it boils.

1 tablespoon of dry Repashy Superfood poweder...

...and in it goes!

Mix it well.

Once gelled up, it pops right out and can be frozen, cut up, etc.

You may be wondering about the dosage; in short, Dr. Kizer prescribed the quantity of medication she estimated it would take for three fish of the size conveyed for 30 days; the three fish being the Butterflyfish, and the two clownfish.  Now, I only have the two clowns in the tank…so could I be “overmedicating”?  Thankfully probably not, if anything I still need to worry about whether they get enough.  Why?  Because these maroons have always been rather shy, reluctant feeders.  The food almost has to come in front of them to get eaten, especially if it’s something they’re not terribly fond of.  So, realistically, if the Lightning Maroon consumes 1/3 of the food I put in the tank per day, hopefully she is getting the level of medication she needs.

I initiated the medicated Repashy gel foods yesterday, 7-14-2012, and will have to continue this for the next 30 days.  So far, I have seen no positive improvements, but I am desperately fighting the urge to augment or change treatment plans at this point in time.

At this point in time, I’m looking at long term fundamental changes.  I may possibly move the fish out of the tank for a while, or I may fundamentally change the way their tank is set up.  One of my biggest thoughts is that while I love how well SPS and LPS have done in this tank, it may be time to scrap the “Reef” tank notion.  Obviously, it is doing me no favors despite keeping me on my toes in the water quality department.  I am seriously considering taking down the rockwork, doing everything I can to clean off the back wall, and then setting back up with a couple large Green Bubble Tip Anemones.  I am guessing here that the fact that this pair has basically decided to live in a “cave” with jagged rocks and tiny calcium worm tubes all over the place is just making these fish accident prone, particularly as they go about trying to clean off the back wall for their eggs.  Imagine rubbing your face on sandpaper…because that’s how it probably must be to them.  So it’s between swapping them into BTAs, or putting them in a sterilized, breeding type setup with only a clay flowerpot to call home.  I am truly torn here.  But something has to stop this chronic bacterial problem I keep having to deal with, and we’re running out of possible causes.