My May/June 2010 issue of CORAL Magazine just arrived today. I knew what was coming, but still, it’s always exciting to get a fresh issue of CORAL. Ret Talbot’s article in Reef News on the Lightning Clown provides yet another view on the story of the Lightning Maroon. There’s a bit more about SEASMART as well, and a grew new photo of the collectors in PNG! Ret knows I’m wanting to talk more about SEASMART (and sustainable collection) in the future here at the Lighting Project, and I hope we get to pull that together soon. In the meantime, go look for the newest issue of CORAL Magazine – it looks like THIS!
Me? I was at MASC’s Reef Ed in Colorado all last weekend, got to hang out with Christina and Chris Pearson, Andrew Berry, Gale, Joe Thompson, Eric Borneman, Jake Adams and Guin Burnard. I love events like this, and I’m going to strongly encourage hobbyists to patronize their clubs and events. You get a whole different experience than reading or posting online. Don’t think the talks are going to be boring because even if they ARE, you will STILL learn a lot that will make you a better marine hobbyist in ways you can’t anticipate. So yeah, I finished moving, went to Reef Ed to speak on captive breeding, and returned home to spend every evening this week in birthing classes (my wife is due in 5 weeks).
Lightning Clown? It’s still living in a breeder net. Happy with a good appetite. I thought I saw some dislodged scales, but it’s hard to tell with the net. I DO know that our Onyx Percs have come down with what may be Brook or Amyloodinium, it’s hard to say, but they’re doing white well and will likely pull out with no treatment. I’ve seen ‘em worse. It is arguably perhaps for the best that my attention to the fish is limited…it’s allowing them to just sit, eat, and recuperate from the move.
I gotta say, the “Breeder Net” kinda sucks. I’m having to think about the long term home for the Lighting Maroon (any tank, filter and lighting manufacturers looking to sponsor the Lighting Project by giving ‘El BOLT a better home, I welcome offers!). I also got some “news” this evening that’s made me smile, but I don’t want to speak prematurely!
So it’s been what, 2 full weeks now? Today, the maroons spent more of their day apart. This evening, I did another water change, shook off all the live rock (and thus rearranged it a bit), dosed with Fish Protector in the makeup water and Reef Plus shortly thereafter.
The female Maroon, as cited earlier, still had spots of Cryptocaryon (ICH) on her into the afternoon, but by night they’ve disappeared. I should mention that besides the obvious visual cues that it was ICH and not Velvet, there has not been heavy breathing nor a total loss of appetite, both classic symptoms of Marine Velvet (Amyloodinium) even when it’s not outwardly visible.
I “polled” the advisers and got early responses from Joe, Christine and Matthew C. about my ongoing ICH problem. I’m over simplifying their responses by a lot, but suffice it to say that if there were one word votes, it’d be 1 vote restore Hypo to 1.010 or even 1.009, and 2 votes for possible treatment with Cupramine (copper) to finally eradicate the problem. Obviously, if this continues to be a recurring problem it will have to be dealt with. I feel that the female Maroon has once again plateaued, albeit at a higher plateau than she was on before.
She has had less “spunk” today, not having tons of appetite by any stretch. Unless food was moving, either in the current or alive (as in Live Adult Brine Shrimp) she didn’t see interested. Honestly, I had my first suspicions that she might be blind now. Hard to say. Blindness can be temporary or permanent in clownfish and can be attributed to a variety of factors. There are times she seems blind, but then other times where she most certainly does not. So throw that on the pile as another of the never-ending list of problems that have plagued this female PNG Maroon since her arrival. Oh, that, and someone took a chunk out of her left pectoral fin today. The list of suspects is short. VERY SHORT. And happens to be covered in abberant white markings.
Behaviorally, the clowns were not as cuddly with each other today. They spent most of their time about 3-4″ apart. When I turned out the lights this evening, the female left her cave. The Lighting Maroon quivered for her numerous times, but she moved off to a different part of the tank. I didn’t stay to watch too much more, but suffice to to say that both fish seem to be roaming the tank more. This, combined with the “mystery bite” on the female’s fin might suggest that the “pair bond” isn’t all that, but then I look at my other clowns that don’t have anemone homes and they tend to rove around quite a bit. They aren’t always at each other’s side, but it’s very rare that they’re at opposite ends of the tank.
I think it’s really important to impress upon everyone how truly individual and dynamic a marine fish can be. They most certainly do have personalities and subtle behavioral cues. It pays to make yourself aware of those subtle changes in behavior. I certainly believe that some folks might read way too much into it, anthropomorphizing their fish (and going off the deep end in the process). However, if you can avoid that pitfall and be more objective about your fish, you may realize they will often give you clues when things aren’t quite right. I.e. I’m paying more close attention to the Female Maroon today and tomorrow in light of what seems to be a decreased interest in food and behavior that may imply some blindness or at least vision trouble. Hard to say where that’s stemming from, but it’s important to note general behavior every time you look as you’ll get tipped off when things may once again be going wrong.
Well, signing off for tonight, and hoping for a better tomorrow. Power of positive thought seems to work folks, so please do keep sending prayers, well wishes, good vibes and karma to the 20 gallon home of the PNG Ambassador and his wife
It’s been a busy weekend and one that has left me with only questions and no real good explanations!
Friday – following my last update in the afternoon, I went back down and was shocked with what I saw. So much so, that only video can truly convey what surprised me.
For the record, I did NOT introduce the Lightning Maroon into the female’s side of their tank. He, and I say now safely “HE”, either jumped the egg crate or somehow managed to squeeze around it. SINCE Friday afternoon, he has not left her side. I will tell you now that I was totally shocked and surprised to see this. I didn’t do this. But I have not intervened. Clearly this is what the Lighting Maroon WANTED. Possibly a sign from above? Hard to say. But who am I to argue. If the Lightning Maroon wants to be with the female so badly that he’ll bypass the barriers to interaction (and the safety afforded to him), I will not interfere. In other words, despite my best efforts to keep the Lighting Maroon safe from the female PNG Maroon, they have gotten together without incident. To me, this behavioral change, this unintended pairing, and the fact that it has gone so smoothly, solidly answers the sex question (short of actual egg fertilization). I think everyone who felt that the Lighting Maroon was a male at the time of collection was right.
I have continued on my treatment paths…you don’t stop medication the moment your symptoms go away, you need to follow things through. That means that they got a water change on Friday night, followed by 2 drops of Vitamin C. Saturday morning, a dose of Maracyn SW and 8 drops of Vitamin C. In the evening, another 5 gallon water change, 2 drops of Vitamin C to make up for what may have been removed. Sunday morning, again, a dosing of Maracyn SW. I was in such a hurry this morning I don’t think I dosed any Vitamin C.
Technically, the tank was due for another Formalin dosage today. I honestly think I’ve hit things as hard as I can with Formalin. The last dosage of Formalin seemed to irritate the fish, so in a potentially risky move, I am not going to dose the tank with Formalin anymore. It truly did wreak havoc on the live rock and the overall water quality from a bacterial standpoint.
It’s also been a extra day since the last “formalin dip” on the Female. She went through more dips than was prescribed. I still have not seen her eat anything, while the PNG Lightning Maroon Clown eats anything that hits the water. I get the impression that the female PNG Maroon is very nervous about me being around, and she may in fact be eating when I’m not watching. Hard to tell. I’ve been feeding live adult brine shrimp from Mark Martin @ Blue Zoo, which I continue to enrich / feed with RotiGrow Plus from Reed Mariculture (Reef Nutrition). I am still considering doing a FW dip, possibly with Formalin, tonight. If I can see her eating something, anything, I will refrain from further dips. Knowing that refusing to eat is a symptom of both Brooklynella and Amyloodinium, and believing in my gut that I’ve dealt with both of these parasites in the past week, to NOT continue with dips (whether FW, Formalin or both) would be a risky move. If the fish is eating, there goes the only remaining “outwardly apparent” symptom of Brook or Velvet. I would be very relieved if she would just eat already.
And that’s the update. This evening, other than the female still not eating as far as I can tell, they are truly acting like a healthy bonded clownfish pair. I still have no concrete explanations for the female’s miraculous recovery. Certainly some divine intervention, and if folks want to call it a true miracle from God, I certainly believe in a higher power and yes, that thought has crossed my mind. Definitely a higher power out there. But religion aside, I am still a “scientist” and believe there is some scientific explanation. It may very well be what inspired me to hit the tank with Maracyn SW. IF the Maroon was suffering from an internal bacterial infection, one not readily apparent externally, then the rapid turnaround and loss of symptoms would make sense following the administration of antibiotics. This seems to be the most likely possibility, but the simple truth is that a) we’re not out of the woods with the female and b) we may never know what’s kept her alive this long.
In a nuthshell, the FW dip + Formalin did not really seem to go over well. The Maroon Female is under the live rock, wedged in, breathing unhappily and rapidly. Frankly though, I’ve seen MUCH WORSE LOOKING fish (see my posts about the Saddleback…of course, it did die within hours later).
What I’ve seen develop over the past few hours is slime coat and what looks to me like Velvet (Amyloodinium). I’ve seen it before, many times over, as I found Amphiprion allardi particularly susceptible to it. I know we had Brooklynella early on, then there were the Spots of Cryptocaryon, and now this. Sure, I’m not 100% sure it is, but seriously…I dip the fish with Formalin and FW, and within 2 hours I have a nice dusting of tiny white spots on the fish? What else could I be seeing?
Well, I’m making plans to abandon their tank potentially. Can’t risk a Cupramine + Formalin interaction. I took a fallow larval tank down, filled it about 50% with water from my Onyx Perc’s reef, 50% new tapwater. It tested out around 1.014 (my percentages aren’t exact). I’m letting it just sit there. Depending on how the female Maroon looks in the morning (if she is even still alive) I may follow through with my earlier outlined plans and treat her with Cupramine. Honestly, this is somewhat ridiculous to be dealing with still.
My plans for the Lighting Maroon? I have 3 options. #1. Leave him in the 20 gallon QT tank since he’s doing OK there despite the Female’s ongoing troubles. #2. Ignore that there is another clearly sick fish in the tank, and treat him as if he’s been through a short QT and come out OK. That means #3a – placing him in a net breeder in my SPS tank with a RBTA (Red Bubble Tip Anemone) or relocating our spawning pair of Black Ocellaris and giving the Lightning Maroon a dedicated 6 gallon reef with a massive RBTA and a bunch of mushrooms. Both tanks are very solid. Both have good and bad things associated with them.
Frankly, I’m frustrated, because the 20 L was solid, had been broken in for months and was going to be an ideal home for the pair. I’ve ended up ravaging it with Hyposalinity and Formalin, and even after all that I’m stuck with sick fish? If I have to abandon this tank and leave it fallow, I’m technically without a good dedicated home for a Maroon pair at the moment. That’s a setback. “GRR”
So, in a situation like this, I think it is INACTION that generally “seals the deal” as it were. Leave a fish that’s lost its desire to swim lying on the bottom wedged under the live rock and that fish will be somewhere, dead, by morning. That’s my general prognosis. Which is why inaction is not an option. I’d rather kill the fish by trying to save it than sit back and just let it die.
Water Params in the QT Tank
Water tests came back normal…pH maybe slightly low at 8.0 but nothing alarming at all…all my reefs like to run at 8.0 most of the time. Ammonia maybe a trace, but certainly below 0.25 ppm. Nitrite and Nitrate undetectable. SG 1.010 or every so slightly higher. This, combined with the outwardly healthy and happy Lightning Maroon clownfish is an important indication that there aren’t environmental problems.
Can’t be the water…
So what is it then? Tank has had low level Formalin treatments, and I’ve followed a strict regime of Formalin dips. Tank has been at hyposaline conditions for several days, which may not outright affect a cure of any disease, but certainly should not hurt and likely has helped (I may have said it before…it could just as easily be that both fish would be dead were it NOT for hypo…we just don’t know). We’ve seen signs of Brooklynella, but certainly not the rampant infestation that takes fish down quickly. Likely I kept that at bay. There has also been Cryptocaryon. Nothing serious, certainly not to the levels where a fatality would result.
We have pretty good water parameters overall, so that’s not been a source of problems. Even got a protein skimmer going and yes, the Seaclone is pulling out foam, even at 1.010. So much for “not working” like some folks out there will tell you. Yet still, in the last 24-48 hours I have noticed elevated repiration on the Maroon Clown, and this evening, a fish on the bottom, clearly stressed. Honestly, without visual cues, the only thing that is really coming to mind is Amyloodinium, which I’ve seen before and can totally take a fish down fast. Could it be that in a week alone I may have seen all three diseases on the female Maroon?
Making Educated Guesses
Well, anything is possible. It could also be that the fish is now succumbing to starvation, secondary bacterial infections, organ failure, or even has just given up the will to live. All of those are possible.
I have to operate under the following assumptions.
1. I could STILL be facing an infection with Brooklynella.
2. I could be facing an Amyloodinium problem now.
Since neither can be comfortably ruled out at the moment, I had to think this through carefully.
Medication options for Amyloodinium vs. Brooklynella
As I’ve alluded to prior, Amyloodinium may or may not be treatable with Formalin – the literature on the subject varies, and genuinely, it is a 50/50 split. Brooklynella however, is universally cited as treatable with Formalin. Conversely, the other generally accepted treatment for parasites like these is Copper. I’m a fan of Cupramine. Seachem’s Cupramine cannot be used with Formalin – it will create a toxic substance that would probably just kill everything. Cupramine also may cause problems at hyposaline levels. No details provided, it’s a “try it at your own risk”. That said, if I was convinced I was dealing with Amyloodinium at this point, changing course to Cupramine would be a very necessary step, because Cupramine is highly effective against Amyloodinium in my experience, but only if applied early on. The other problem, Copper does nothing for Brooklynella…at least 90% of sources tend to agree on that.
If I thought (or was convinced) it was Amyloodinium?
So for the benefit of argument, what would I do if I gambled and changed to Cupramine? Well, the bottom line is any fish that’s going to be treated with Cupramine needs to be removed to another tank, because I can’t clear out the Formalin with any great level of certainty. Not worth risking a toxic cocktail. This also means possibly “rinsing” the fish as one person suggested in a comment thread. I do concur…that would be a wise precaution, and wouldn’t be that difficult to accomplish. The next thing to do would be to bring up the salinity, as the toxicity of Cupramine should decrease as that salinity goes up (a side note, we’ve also bantied about the use of an anemone as a therapeutic agent in the last 24 hours, which also would’ve required a rapid salinity change to accomplish). Some of the advisers have suggested raising salinity could in fact be done rather quickly, but their frame of reference has been largely to compare to captive bred fish. I did however, pick up good literature-based clues on the subject.
The first clue on rapid salinity rises comes from Matt Wittenrich’s suggested course of action for treating Cryptocaryon on page 161 of his Breeder’s Guide. The “jist” is that you drop SG to 1.015, and after two days, do a large water change (presumeably with full strength saltwater). But that’s not really specific. The more “detailed” clue comes from Joyce Wilkerson’s highly detailed protocol for Amyloodinium treatment on page 114 of her Clownfish Book. Again, to give only the “jist” (please see the reference for full details), drop SG to 1.010/1.012. Day 3, add copper and bring SG up to 1.018. But, “Take a day or more to bring up the specific gravity”. I’ve always worked under the assumption of no more than a 0.002 rise per day was adviseable, but this advise advoceates a rise of up to 0.008 in only 24 hours, 4X that of my assumption. Since I’m a young guy who sometimes want’s more than only the solid, highly experienced sage advice of my elders, I realized that perhaps the real kicker is something sitting in the back of my mind. Most of the bags in the Blue Zoo Aquatics shipment tested out at specific gravities around 1.019/1.020. Yet I pushed both a Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus) and a Harlequin Filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris) up to 1.025/1.026 in my reef on only a 1 hour drip. That RATE would equate to 0.120 difference over 24 hours. 60X faster than my base rate, and 15 times faster than even Wilkerson’s literature suggested to do. And I had NO PROBLEMS there.
Of course, the best example I can think of goes back to when I was 10 years old. I was breeding mollies and had my first saltwater tank. I would ROUTINELY net out my Sailfin Mollies and give them “excursions” in the saltwater tank for a day. No acclimation of any kind, just dropping them in. Now of course, I do not advocate this at all. And healthy Mollies are not the same as distressed Clownfish. But it’s just one more annecdotal experience that my preconceived notions might be ill-concieved or perhaps overly-cautious. It is clear that fish can and do withstand far more rapid rises.
So, with all that said, if I get to a point at any time where I think I need to switch to a copper-treatment for this Female Maroon, the course of action is clear. Rinse her with water from one of my broodstock reefs really quickly, and then move her to a 10 gallon tank that is set up with 5 gallons of diluted saltwater (probably from a broodstock tank). Bring the salinity up from 1.010 to 1.018, while dosing with Cupramine. That would be the way to affect a change.
However, I am not at that point yet, and I think that honestly, the time to switch would’ve been before the fish was trying to wedge itself under the live rock.
So what DID I DO?
One of the things routinely cited for treatment of both Amyloodinium AND Brooklynella is a Freshwater Dip. The FW dip is said to knock off the parasites in the case of Amyloodinium, and for anyone who’s not familiar with Amyloodinium, it can kill a fish by completely coating the gills and you may never even see it on the fish’s skin (one of the main reasons I have suspicions I’m dealing with a case of Amyloodinium now – heavy respiration, stress, and yet no think mucus – generally I’ve only seen the actual cysts on a fish when it’s commonly past the point of no return because I left the fish in the reef too long).
Formalin dips have also been good so far. Every time I did a dip, the fish always seemed “better”. Dosing the tank with Formalin this last time appeared to make things “better” as well. So I’m not about to just outright abandon this medication at this point. Especially since if I am still dealing with Brooklynella, it is THE medication to use. Amyloodnium? The jury is out, but enough people suggest it that there must be some basis for it.
The decision was to combine treatments. I admittedly have no basis for this other than the fish is now clearly on the decline and drastic steps are needed. If it’s Amyloodinium and Formalin isn’t fixing it, perhaps the FW DIP will help alleviate the stress, clear up the gills, and buy me some tmie. If Formalin IS doing the trick, why cut it out? Admittedly, I have no clue if there’s a basis for this dual purpose dip.
I had thought about doing a FW DIP with Methelyne Blue (which helps deliver Oxygen during the dip and is a often recommended practice). However, in the back of my head, I hadn’t researched it. I didn’t know how MB and Formalin would interact, and didn’t want to inadvertently cause some other problem when a fish, dipped in MB, was returned to the main tank. I have to research this more. There are potential merits.
The net result of my thinking was to use the dosage for a Formalin dip at 20 drops per gallon in a Freshwater dip to last anywhere from 5-15 minutes as tolerated (I think in the past I’ve gone even longer, but generally shorter FW dips are suggested).
Prepping the FW Dip
For anyone who’s never done a FW dip, it is not scary. I don’t have RO DI here unless I buy it, so I had to use good ole tap water. Matched the temperature coming out of the tap with the tank temp, and them measured out 1 gallon. Dechlorinated it with Seachem’s Prime. Then checked the pH..
First pH Test, QT tank sample on left, FW Dip water on right.
The results of this first test showed that the FW from the tap (right sample) was just slightly lower than the tank’s pH. A very small dusting of Seachem’s Reef Buffer was added to the dip water, swirled and aerated for a minute. I took another test.
They are now very close, close enough in my opinion, with the FW maybe ever so slightly elevated. But you can barely tell at all. Once the pH was matched, the FW dip was “good to go.
But, as I mentioned, I opted to combine FW with Formalin. While I completed the requisite 3 dip treatment already, if I was continuing on an “every other day” Foramlin dip regime, today would’ve been the day. So 20 drops of Formalin were added to the FW dip water.
The FW + Formalin Dip
Being aware of timing on a dip is critical. Not freaking out is also critical. So, first things first, get the female Maroon out of the tank and into the dip.
Into the bucket she goes...
She goes stiff as a board for a minute, all curled up...
Next, look at the time it is and SET AN ALARM for 10 minutes.
And now observe the fish’s behavior. No better way to convey this than video! This first video was maybe 3-4 minutes in. This is basically how the fish has been acting in the main tank since I found it this evening.
Watch, this was around the 9 minute mark…you’ll hear the alarm go off towards the end. Note how the fish makes a couple mad dashes in the bucket, and then just goes listless again. This IS the erratic behavior I mentioned earlier. The “mad dash” and then nothing.
Shortly after this vid, around 12 minutes, I felt the fish had “had enough” and returned it to the main tank. It promptly dashed around the tank and wedged itself under live rock again. But, when I left to come upstairs to document all of this, the fish was looking a tiny bit better, at least now sitting rightside up in the cave, clearly still very stressed.
EDIT – almost forgot – capped off the work with a 5 gallon water change and a full dosing of Kordon’s Fish Protector. Dosed 5 drops of Formalin as well to make up for the removed water.
But What About the Lightning Maroon?
Yeah, this IS a blog about that awesome little fish, right? Well, Edgar Diaz of AZ was the only one quick enough with the email trigger to shoot me any thoughts on my predicament this evening. He made but one suggestion in response to my many questions. To paraphrase, “Dip the female. Not the male. Female is replaceable. Male isn’t”.
It’s also come to my attention that Jake Adam’s little April 1st prank on Reef Builders STILL has a lot of people thinking that this entire fish is a myth, a photoshop job (or rather several extremely good photoshop jobs). Well, Jake has been all over me wanting dibs on the first HQ Video of the Lighting Maroon. Well Jake, it ain’t HD, it ain’t HQ, and it ain’t on Reef Builders. It’s a tease. Just enough of a tease to let everyone in the world know that this fish isn’t fabricated (unless I am now the ultimate Adobe After Effects guru, at which point you should just all bow down before me…)
This morning, both fish showed signs of improvement. I was patting myself on the back for deciding to dose Formalin to the tank at the 1 drop per gallon rate. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to jinx anything.
The Lightning Maroon is doing well. Today, all day, I can finally say that it has started to behave like a typical clownfish. Playful, energetic yet still timid and nervous. Eating well, and eating anything I offer.
This evening, after being gone for a couple hours, I returned to find this:
the female PNG Maroon...
OK, what exactly is supposed to go through my head at this point? Seriously. Are you KIDDING me? I honestly thought the fish was dead or wedged in and unable to get out (and dead). I started taking live rock out and she bolted out and up into the water column, fully erect and alert. And then she went and laid down behind some other rock. And then bolted around the tank. And then laid down again. There is nothing outward visibly wrong with her in any way, except for rapid breathing and erratic behavior (and the fact that she has not eaten in a week or longer now).
CLEARLY the female is still having issues, and this is definitely not going in the direction I want. I need to reevaluate what I’m doing and I’ll need to do so tonight. I’ll post up what I decide to do when I’ve done so.
I need to pass along quick thanks to my trusted group of advisers. They include Joe Lichtenbert of RPI, Edgar Diaz of Addy-Zone, Mark Martin @ Blue Zoo Aquatics, Dustin Dorton @ ORA, Matthew Carberry @ Sustainable Aquatics and Christine Williams. They have all been valuable contributors and have given me LOTS to think about. No doubt the amount of emails flying back and forth is staggering for them. THANK YOU for putting up with all of it guys, I hope you feel some ownership over this project. Remember, I feel that this isn’t MY project, but “everyone’s”.
It is perhaps interesting, if not comforting, to know that between 6 highly-qualified & experienced aquarists, each one has had suggestions or advice as unique as they are themselves. I will say the general consensus has been to stick with Hyposalinity and minimize stress (to not make any sudden changes). The change in the female’s condition may nullify some or all of that advice, but it’s hard to say.
Short update – still pulling crazy OT on the project for work today. I really want this project OFF MY PLATE!
No external symptoms of anything on either Maroon today. No Brooklynella, Cryptocaryon or Amyloodinium outwardly observable. Both are very “mellow” overall, but no heavy breathing. The fish lack “spunk” though…they are not like any of my other clowns at this point in time.
The Lightning Maroon continues to feed…he’s taken various mysis and brine shrimp, as well as Nutramar Ova this morning. I *thought* I saw the female taste something, but nothing confirmed. It may have just blown into her face.
The plan for today is another water change, and the last 45-minute Formalin Dip in the 3-dip series, as per the instructions from Matt Wittenrich’s book. I may dose a few things along the way with the water change (Kordon’s Fish Protector and 5 drops Formalin). They will remain at hyposaline conditions (1.010).
Taking a break from work..wow…already burned out and again, OT is in the future tonight! But, I can take 10 minutes away to update you all on the status of the Maroons…
This morning, I was dealt another disheartening turn of events. I went down before starting my workday and took a look. I think the pictures speak for themselves.
The female maroon, showing clear signs of a second parasitic infection..not Brooklynella.
The female maroon, showing clear signs of a second parasitic infection..not Brooklynella.
The female maroon, showing clear signs of a second parasitic infection..not Brooklynella.
Yup…that look s like Marine Ich, Cryptocaryon irritans. Not a serious infestation, but I thought I saw this on her yesterday and sure enough, there it is again this morning. Left scratching my head, and can only assume this was picked up before dropping the tank to hyposaline conditions. Formalin is also supposed to have an impact, so come on…really? I have to deal with ICH too? I haven’t seen any outward signs of Brooklynella now since I first saw it and treated for it. Still, I will follow the regime and do a final Formalin dip tomorrow. You don’t stop medication the moment you “feel better” afterall. You have to stick to protocols. I was worried I was dealing with Amyloodinium, but so far, other than loss of appetite, I haven’t seen the symptoms I normally associate with it’s onset (i.e. rapid breathing). Still, I have already been researching and planning for a possible switch from Formalin regiments to Cupramine (Seachem’s copper product, which I’ve had good results with in the past).
Well, I’ve been keeping the lights on for shorter periods of time and keeping the tank lit more with ambient light. I’ve gone downstairs to feed a couple times today.
There IS positive news today. The Lightning Maroon is back to EATING. Formula 1 small Pellets and Spirulina Flakes, both by Ocean Nutrition. And eating “well” too. Swimming around “his” section of the tank a lot more. This is a huge step forward. Wish I could say the female is eating too, but still, no real response.
So overall, we have a negative and a positive canceling each other out for the time being. At some point this evening, in between all the overtime for work, I’m going to do another water change to remove uneaten food.
I sent this one out to the experts, but I’m withholding my own thoughts. This is the PNG Saddleback I mentioned earlier when I talked about Formalin dipping “replaceable” fish before going with the Maroons. This Saddleback has been in hyposalinity (1.010) and has had a formalin dip daily for the last 3 days. The tank was dosed at 1 drop Formalin per gallon on Friday, and again Sunday. I also added in Maracyn SW (Erythromycin + B Vitamins) because I suspect secondary bacterial infections are kicking in.
I have my own theories and thoughts, but I’m going to WITHHOLD THEM because I don’t want to influence the opinions posted. So please, comment with your opinion on what disease is actually killing this PNG Saddleback, and more importantly, state WHY you’ve reached your diagnosis if you want to have any credibility. Here’s some pictures and a video.
Ailing Amphiprion polymnus “PNG”
Ailing Amphiprion polymnus “PNG”
Ailing Amphiprion polymnus “PNG”
Video on Youtube:
- update – this fish was dead within 8 hours of these images and videos being taken.
And finally for this evening. That incident where I almost killed this fish and the 4 Allardi with a Formalin dip that was likely way too strong? Well, I’m still trying to make heads and tails of it, and I’ve been talking with Christine Williams about it (Christine is the Resident Expert for the forum on Marine Fish Health / Diseases at MASNA ). If this well-known manufacturer’s documentation on their Formalin product has even Christine a bit confused, well, I think I might have to take back at least some responsibility for my error.
It turns out that potentially there may be straight up conflicting treatment instructions in their documentation that would result in a 10-fold difference in medication levels depending on which instruction you followed. To me, that’s a HUGE problem. Of course, I was unlucky in that I followed the higher of the two dosages! In reading through their documentation carefully again, trying to weed out the actual product specifications, it could be that their product is only 10% of the strength of the standard Formalin I’ve been using (as I suggested earlier). But this new found discrepancy in treatment instructions, and the continuing vagery about their actual product, could mean that I miss-dosed anywhere from 10 times to 100 times more Formalin than I was supposed to in the first dip. I’m withholding the company and product name because I do not know yet if I’m right or not, and I’d like to get this whole mess cleared up before I go lambasting anyone. But yeah, starting to think that this might not have really been “my fault”, except I’m still the one that actually did it!
Early this morning, before leaving for Easter brunch with Renee’s family, I snuck a look @ the Maroon Clowns. To my dismay, it appeared that the female had spots of ICH (Cryptocaryon irritans) on her now? Seriously? Or maybe this is just spots of Velvet (Amyloodinium ocellatus)? At this point, nothing would surprise me, but then again, I am really ticked off that things are not going BETTER at this point. All three possible parasitic infestations, be it Marine Ich, Marine Velvet, or Brooklynella (Brooklynella hostilis), are all treatable with Formalin. So even if I’ve misdiagnosed this completely, it shouldn’t matter. I’m optimistic with my choice of action to deal with this, but honestly getting impatient.
The tank had become a bit cloudy by morning, largely owing to the death of various invertebrates from the formalin dosing (sadly, bye bye mushrooms that were on the live rock). I dosed the tank with 20 drops of Chloram-X from Reed Mariculture as an ammonia controlling precaution, and left for the brunch.
Upon returning this afternoon, the female looked better and both fish were out and swimming. Still, things needed to be done. Jim Grassinger is a local hobbyist and is the guy who gave my Blue Jaw Triggerfish a home so I had a devoted tank for this project. He is also the proprietor of www.TheFilterGuys.com. A couple days ago Jim had dropped off a massive quantity of miscellaneous used aquarium equipment to go through and do with as I pleased (might use some in the future fishroom, might repurpose or repair other items for a myriad of things, including possible giveaways to our recently revitalized local club, the Lake Superior Marine Aquarium Club).
While riffling through all the stuff Jim dropped off, I had noticed a smaller Seaclone 100 Protein Skimmer. I’d been running it on a 5 gallon bucket since last night to test it out, and it appears to be working. So I threw this skimmer on the 20 gallon QT tank. I know they don’t have good reputations for “maximum performance”, but at hyposaline conditions (SG = 1.010) I don’t expect much skimmate to collect anyway. I’m largely doing this as an easy way to add extra gas exchange to their tank, important especially if these parasite infestations are continuing. But who knows…with all that “death” in the tank, I could indeed collect some foam! Better safe that sorry.
I’m not delaying, the pair has been placed into their second formalin dip as I type this…2 gallons of water, 40 drops of Formalin (2 ml Formalin into 2 gallons tank water) with aeration and an egg crate divider (so they can’t beat each other up during the dip). They’ll stay in the dip for 45 minutes unless they show signs of stress sooner.
I’m already planning up another water change to siphon out any decaying inverts and uneaten food currently in the tank. Will probably do that while they’re in the dip. Being a 5 gallon water change, 5 more drops of formalin will be added along with the new water (which is still at 1.01o).
The PNG Maroon Clowns are in their second of three every-other-day formalin dips.
Overall, they still look in GOOD shape, but I’m not taking chances, and I feel I’m doing everything I can to keep these fish clean. I just really, really need to see them start eating soon here – if fish are eating, they’re hopefully not depleting precious fat reserves. Will try feeding again later this evening.