The Lightning Project

The ongoing saga of the PNG Lightning Maroon Clownfish Breeding Project

Browsing Posts tagged Maracyn SW

I am still owing the world a full post, but in the interest if simply keeping you all relatively updated, here’s some short tidbits.

Based on an egg photo count, there was 310 eggs on the tile and all hatched.  There have been some larval losses, but that is to be expected.  Mike Doty did an excellent job watching the babies in my absence – plenty of live larvae when I returned from Boston this past Sunday, July 1st.

Since returning, larval maintenance has been a study routine of upping the water volume with drips of pre-mixed saltwater (for those who will ask, I am currently using AquaCraft’s Marine Environment – they donated a palette of it for Banggai-Rescue).  The SG is probably running around 1.021.  I am using Reed Maricultures RotiGrow Plus to culture my rotifers, and using their RotiGreen Nanno for greenwater (I may have preferred the Omega variant, but Nanno is what I had on hand).  I’ve been dosing RotiGreen and CloramX (a solution mixed from the powder) at roughly a 2:1 ratio, and averaging 30 drops twice a day now on the BRT. I have been harvesting up to 4 gallons of rotifer cultures daily (2 in the AM, 2 in the PM) to keep rotifer levels up.  As of tonight, we are at basically 6 full days post hatch, so I introduced the larvae to their first taste of APBreed TDO (Top Dressed Otohime), Size A (smaller than the A1 I’m more normally accustomed to using).  All is going well with these larvae, and I look forward to settlement soon.

The Lightning Maroon herself continues to be a problem…the Foureye has been removed for a while now, the Maracyn + Maracyn II treatment was long since done yet low level bacterial problems persist, most recently some very light markings on the male’s face, and then I found what looked like an enlarged light area on the leading spines of the left pelvic fin.  These fish just can’t get a break.  I am continuing to work with Dr. Kizer on some alternate ideas, as we’re really ruling out all the normal causes at this point.  Me, I’m stumped.  Without diagonistics, I think it’s fair to say that Dr. Kizer can’t really offer any other insights either.  We may try yet another antibiotic course, another one dosed through the food, that seems to be where we’re heading.  But I’m also thinking I don’t want to overreact either, so most likely we will try to have the prescription-based feed on hand, ready, should another large-scale problem crop up.

There has been a lot going on – the Lightning Maroon actually came down with yet ANOTHER recurrent bacterial infection, we removed the Butterflyfish from the tank, I started treatments with Maracyn & Maracyn II back on Sunday night which restored the Lightning’s appetite and appears to have fought back the problem.  All the while they have been tending their nest.

So will the eggs hatch tonight?  I wasn’t planning for a hatch so-soon, but looking at the fact that the eggs showed eyes yesterday and are looking pretty silvery tonight, I’m seriously wondering.  It’s up in the air…clownfish hatch times can vary between pairs even if all other items remain the same.  That said, here’s a quick rundown of data scrubbed from the MBI (Marine Breeding Initiative Database) by simply viewing the “hatch” reports for Premnas biaculeatushttp://www.mbisite.org/Search.aspx?Species=17

83F = 6 days
28C (82.4F) = 8 days
81F = 5 days
30C (86F) = 5 days
78-80F = 7 days
78F = 8 days
79-80F = 6 days

So what does this all mean?  Well, the above data set is still pretty small, but it suggests that I could had a hatch as early as yesterday.   Other than the one odd 8 day one at 28C, the rest paint a pretty convincing picture of “higher temps” = “shorter incubation times”.  With the lovely data logging capabilities of my Apex Lite controller, I was able to log in and see that my temperatures have ranged pretty consistently between 79.5 and 81.2 – that all points to a high probability of a hatch tonight.  I’m not sure whether I will pull the tile, or wait to see the first hatchlings in the tank and THEN pull the tile.  Tough deciisons to make.

I’m off to prepare.

 

Ruling things out.

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Another quick followup – last night I set to ruling out one possible cause – a disrupted nitrogen cycle.  In looking at the tank, I honestly had no reason to suspect any actual problems, except of course this recurrent cloudy / infected eye issue occurring with both fish now.  One possible cause however, could certainly be the presence of elevated levels of ammonia or nitrite.  This could easily be explained by the 2 recent rounds of treatment with Maracyn & Maracyn II in the tank.  Part of me would’ve been very happy to find either, because it would give me a likely cause to latch onto and deal with.

Of course, ammonia and nitrite tests both came up with nothing; both tests showed 0 ppm, or basically undetectable levels.  I still decided to dose the aquarium with a full treatment utilizing Dr. Tim’s Nitrifying Bacteria; I had a lot leftover from the initial setup of tanks for Banggai Rescue.  The thought process is this; we may simply be looking at “negative” bacteria levels being elevated, and possibly we can “push out” or displace these bacteria with more “friendly” strains and types that are beneficial to the system.  There is no doubt that the tank HAD to have been compromised in some capacity during the anti-bacterial treatments; in every respect I see no downside to trying this.  I had been thinking about it for a while but honestly can’t remember if I did it or not prior, but I’m able to go on and definitely say I treated the tank with this product last night.  I should also mention that I used this product with perceived good results for Banggai Rescue’s tanks; I can honestly say that I did not confirm the existence of a single tank out of 12+ going through a cycle.  In other words, this product appears to fully make good on its claims to instantly cycle and establish a new tank.  While the price tag is far more than other competing products, there does seem to be a genuine difference (whether that difference justifies the increased price, and whether this works better than competing products like Seachem’s Stability  is certainly something I cannot say without actual scientific testing).  Overall, I’ve come to learn that Dr. Tim’s has an excellent reputation in talking with some other aquarists whose opinions I trust, and those unofficial endorsements and other experiences seem to bolster my own.

As of this morning, the eye is still cloudy…

Popeye Update

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Just a quick update as I’ve simply not had time to take pictures, nor get the permissions I’ve asked for.  In a nutshell, once again, we *may* have adverted a crisis.  I’ve been consulting a fish vet for the past few days, and for lack of a better way of explaining it, there are lots of things a vet would want to do to a fish in this condition that aren’t practical.  Not practical in so much as the vet I’ve been talking with is 3 hours away, and can’t be here on site to see the fish even if I could afford to compensate the vet for the trip and time combined.  The other practical issue is one of risk and probabilities; netting a fish with an infected eye is never a good idea, and as I learned, a swab of the eye would likely yield no pathogens anyways as the causative agent is probably largely internal.  Plus, if there is an ongoing infection of the eye itself, I could easily see a swab somehow popping the eye and well, making matters worse.  In the end, it is my opinion that while consulting with a vet made for a very good sounding board and gave me some new things to consider, without the direct interaction, there was little if anything different the vet would’ve had me do.  Plus, considering I was seeing some improvements as we were consulting, it’s difficult for any doctor to suggest a change if what’s being done outwardly appears to be working.  I get that, 100%.  And on the topic of prevention – minimize stress, maximize good water quality. No surprise, I’ve been doing that for years.  So I think none of us have even a guess as to why this is happening, which means that every hypothesis we’ve put forth could be valid.

So yesterday (Tuesday) was the last dose in the 5 day course of Maracyn and Maracyn II, which I ran only weeks prior for the mouth rot.  I’ve been feeding the Dr. G’s food daily; I’ve made this judgement call to feed at twice the package’s recommendation based on several things, but perhaps most importantly that the Lightning Maroon isn’t an aggressive feeder (never really has been) and thus, it’s difficult to get this fish to eat as much as  you might think it should within a 1-minute time window (as prescribed by the food’s directions).  Still, it’s important to note that this food introduces both Metronidozole and Kanamycin to the mix, and it is again reef safe as far as I can tell.

The downside here is that the Lightning Maroon’s interest in food was diminished today, so getting a fish to eat the medicated food is obviously a problem.  The pair however, has been cleaning like crazy…for all I know the pair could wind up spawning (my female Percula often has a diminished appetite in the day or tow prior to a spawn).

The actual eye – much improved and it would seem that there isn’t any vision loss.  There is still some tissue bulging out around the eye however, which made me reluctant to stop the treatment with Erythromycin and Monocycline (active ingredients of Maracyn and Maracyn II).  I’m trusting the vet on this one.

Here’s the real worry, and sadly this does make some sense.  Mycobacteriosus.  Both the female Maroon I first had so many problems with, and then the Morse-Code Maroon, basically shared similar afflictions (pop eye and mouth rot respectively) that I have encountered in none of my other marine fish.  Yes, that’s it.  NEVER.  I cannot recall ever having popeye in another marine fish here, and certainly not mouth rot.  So why would 3 out of 6 PNG Maroons be the only fish in my entire household to ever wind up with these diseases?  Well, it’s much more understandable if we view this as a pathogen that they were all exposed to before they came to me.  We know that Mycobacterium can lay dormant in fish for a long time, which could also explain why the Lightning Maroon has gone this long without issues.  If it IS Mycobacterium behind the external and recurring symptoms I’m seeing, well, that could be *it* for the Lightning Maroon no matter what I do.  It’s a very harsh theory to even consider, and even more alarming given that the theory happens to explain a whole heck of a lot of the issues I’d had, let alone also possibly explaining why these problems are isolated to a small group of fish from one species from one location, where half of them have had semi-common symptoms.

For now, please just send all those positive vibes.  The tank got a 10 gallon water change today, and hopefully the Lightning Maroon remains on the road to recovery.  Let’s get several more good years with her if we can.

I believe I shot these Sunday AM.

 

It is now Monday AM, and honestly, things are improving.  The appetite of the Lightning Maroon remains strong, which I’ve used to ensure that it continues to feed on the Dr. G’s antibacterial formula.  I should preface this by saying that the Lightning Maroon has always been a timid feeder, so food generally has to flow right by its face / into its territory for it to feed.  So I’m definitely not following the Dr. G. feeding protocol (as much as they can eat in one minute, every other day).

In talking with the man behind Dr. G’s feeds, the feeds are set up to roughly deliver a “minimum effective dose”.  In the case of the anti-parasite Dr. G. formulation (which is laced with Chloroquin Posphate), you can quadruple the feeding regime (twice per day vs. once every other day) and have no ill-effects on the fish (although the Dr. doesn’t recommend that).  Knowing how most every antibiotic is normally delivered, it honestly doesn’t make sense to dose every-other day via feed, so I’m going to feed the food once per day to maintain antibiotic levels.  It’s worth mentioning that the active ingredients in the Dr. G formula are Kanamycin and Metronidozole.

All in all, this means that I have no less than 4 antibiotics running around.  I’ve been talking with two fish vets who I’ll refrain from naming for the time being.  One has of course, expressed concern over the “shotgun” approach, understandably so.  For me, I’m thinking that the repeat of the Maracyn & Maracyn II are probably of little efficacy, but they were what I had on hand to immediately address the problem.  Still, I am more likely to credit the Dr. G’s as the moment, if only because positive progress only started being made once it was introduced to the regime starting on Saturday evening.  Still, it could be the other medications.

The main goal here is twofold – #1. effectively cure this latest round of garbage.  #2. figure out WHY it’s happening soas to prevent it.  As of Monday AM, the eye looks better (less white stuff), so maybe we will get through this latest bout again.  But I’m fully wondering what the heck is causing the fish to break down repeatedly.  Mechanical damage? Food?

Or could we even be looking at an old-age, immuno-compromized fish?  Afterall, they DON’T live forever, they are NOT immortal.  Could it simply be that the Lightning Maroon is an older fish, nearing it’s time, and all my drastic measures are simply staving off the inevitable?  I hope not.

Despite all this, the male is cleaning the tile like crazy.

 

I promised photos, and I took them.  I ended up not doing any subsequent antibiotic treatments, so I basically ran one day longer with the Maracyn SW than called for, and Maracyn II went the full course.  I didn’t have a very cooperative photograph subject, but these photos of the Lightning Maroon were take on Thurdsay, May 3rd, 2012.

Lightning Maroon Clownfish

Lightning Maroon Clownfish

You can see the difference in the right upper maxilary…certainly scarred at this point, but not the raging infection.  And the appetite returned.  Plus, on Friday, the Lightning Maroon saw fit to go on a rampage of the sandbed, moving Goniopora and other corals around that had been left alone for months.

It’s 3:15 AM, Thursday, May 3rd, I really should be in bed, but I know folks are wanting updates ;)

Monday, April 30th, 2012

By Monday, it seemed that nothing was progressing, and towards the evening, the slightly more “bold” Lightning Maroon personality had returned.  I did a 5 gallon water change and once again dosed the tank with both Maracyn and Maracyn II, both the marine / saltwater formulations.

It is interesting to note that I had a loss by this point – an Acropora frag that had been browned out for months, and had a little bit of cyanobacteria growing on it, well, that coral kicked the bucket during this treatment.  IRONICALLY, it almost appears as if the Pink Birdsnest and Sour Apple Birdsnest are showing more intense coloration than ever…could be the water changes, could be something in the medication…hard to say at the moment.  But I really want to hit home the efficacy of these two anti-bacterial products and their very apparent relative safety in reef tanks.  Hobbyists are always scrambling for reef-safe medications, and in this case, I think you have very safe anti-bacterial agents to treat suspected bacterial infections in a reef tank.  IF you must.

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Officially a crazy day in the Pederson household.  By this point I was probably telling those who inquired privately that I was slowly gaining optimism that my course of treatment had been effective.  Overall, I barely looked at the tank though other than to treat it.

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012.

Another day of simply being very busy and stretched thin…our first summer-like day in Duluth had me spending most of my freetime in the afternoon trying to do some much needed outdoor work in the wind of opportunity that presented itself.  Plus I’ve been busy with my work on the Banggai Rescue project.  I did take a quick peak at the Lightning Maroon and dare I say it, it does appear that the infected areas of the maxillary are possibly even healing?  It could quite well turn out that the fish may not lose the maxillary as I had feared, and quite possibly, it may not even be scarred when it’s all said and done?

Before I knew it, 2:00 AM had already arrived and I had neglected to treat the Lightning Maroon.  So I did a 5 gallon water change, and treated the tank.  According to the manufacturer’s recommended treatment regimes, I’ve gone one extra day with the Maracyn and have completed the Maracyn II treatment course as well, albeit slightly late there at the by about 12 hours!

So what’s next?

The biggest question at the moment is whether I continue to treat with the antibiotics.  Instructions on the packaging say to treat for 5 days even if symptoms disappear.  But what if maybe they haven’t?  Do I keep going?  I may make some calls, ask around, or just by myself personal comfort time by going yet one more day.  Afterall, there are diseases in humans that we have to treat with 30-day long antibiotic courses – I absolutely do not want to stop prematurely.

I obviously owe you all pictures.  That will be on my to-do list for tomorrow when I wake up.

The long-term question is how do I prevent this from recurring.  The concern is that while I perhaps got lucky and made the right decisions this first time around, if it comes back, it may be harder to treat (due to built up resistance).  Obviously these fish already receive the most attention in the house most days, and are always the first to receive care and maintenance.  And yet I still had a problem with a bacterial infection.

Most of the time, we think of bacterial infections as being caused by poor water quality.  But the reality there is that I maintain close to sps-level water parameters, have a good skimmer, etc.  So what could be going on here?

One of the things that had occurred to me is my use of very low-level vodka dosing.  We know that carbon-dosing elevates bacterial populations and in doing so, helps “bind up” our nitrates in the actual bacterial mass. But could the carbon-dosing also cause elevated levels of pathogenic bacteria, and have indirectly caused this to happen?  Obviously I’ve stopped vodka dosing during the entire treatment because I don’t have any effective skimmer at the moment (treatment with these antibiotics causes the skimmer to go truly haywire..I’m just letting it all spill back into the tank).  My vodka dosing was at extremly low levels (1 drop per day) but still, maybe that was too much.

Of course, the above is entirely conjecture, just a hypothesis at best.  The other possible things to look at IS the introduction of the tile.  I have legitimate concerns that the Lightning Maroon perhaps damaged its mouth when trying to evict the tile from its territory.  If in fact the tile was indirectly related, I am hoping that its ongoing presence has simply become accepted, and thus, will no longer cause violent objections to its presence in their territory.

And then there’s another thing we must consider.  As with all wild caught fish, we have no clue how old they are.  In the case of a Clownfish, I recall reading scientific documentation of a wild-caught Percula being 32 years of age.  Most probably live far less, but still, if you live your life as a male, and your female lives a long time too, well, you stay small and live a long time.  It is quite possible that our Lighting Maroon could be 5, 10, 20 years old already.  There is, quite sadly, the possibility that the Lighting Maroon *could* already be old, and thus, could be slowly starting to slide downhill.  Let’s hope it never comes to that, yet it is inevitable that sooner or later, the Lightning Maroon IS going to die. Realistically, odds are more likely that the Lightning Maroon was perhaps on the younger side of things, but then again, you don’t really know.  When she does finally pass on, I’ve already committed to contributing her to scientific research.

So that’s where things stand.  Please keep sending the well-wishes, as I am not going to make George W. Bush’s mistake and declare “mission accomplished” just yet.

 

Friday, April 27, 2012.

I’ll keep this short and bittersweet. In the last 24 hours the Lightning Maroon has developed a pretty rapid spreading case of what appears to be mouth rot. You may recall a similar situation occurring with the Morse-Code Maroon, and that did not end well.

The biggest question is WTF – or more appropriately, WHY?! Did I introduce a pathogen from the Onyx Percula tank? It’s possible, but that group of fish has been disease free for who knows how long, and would qualify to be every bit as QT’d as the Lightning Maroon. PLUS, the Four Eye Butterflyfish that they reside with was taken from the Onyx Perc’s tank originally. So odds are that there was nothing new introduced.

Does it have something to do with the eggs? Could be. Could be that eating fungused eggs exposed the fish to elevated bacterial / fungal levels which in turn has led to infection. Or it could be the tile surface is somehow abrading the lips as they clean, and again opening a pathway to infection.

Or could it be something more sinister? If I’m blunt, perhaps the pop-eye I saw earlier on was not in fact a “bruise”, cauesed by mechanical damage, but was in fact an early warning sign for infection. If I really read some of the symptoms listed out, it actually sounds like a disease called Ichthyophonus hoferi, which is an internal fungal infection, with the exception being that the Lightning Maroon is not exhibiting any of the erratic behavioral symptoms.

However, this disease does most closely match the symptoms of classic mouth-rot, which is treatable with Erythromycin (one of the rarer ones). In fact, you can pick up a package of Maracyn SW and pretty much it deals with all of these symptoms. I keep it on hand, and I’ve found it to be very reef-safe, so without hesitation, I removed the carbon and dosed the tank today with the first dose of Maracyn SW. As of this evening, I have seen no improvement, and in fact, it does appear that the Lightning Maroon lost it’s appetite tonight. This is NOT GOOD.

I am toying with the notion of removing the egg tile. I’m looking at the Aiptasia in their vicinity and wondering if I need to eradicate those as well (haven’t caused any problems before, so why would they now…but maybe I still should). I am thinking of hitting both the Gram Positive AND Gram Negatives by including Maracyn II SW (Maracyn hits Gram Positive infections). I’m thinking about moving the fish into a well established QT tank. The options are endless, but it’s a situation like this where I hate being the fish vet, because the long-standing hobbyist in me has not seen a tremendous success rate in treating these types of infections. Of course, in the last 7 years, there has been only one other fish to have this issue…and that was another PNG Maroon. What are the odds?

All fish will die, that’s a given fact. But damnit, I will be really bummed if this is how the story of the Lightning Maroon comes to pass. And yeah, I’m really going WTF…this is the type of disease that really just should never happen in a clean, well maintained system. WTF?!

Saturday, April 28th

I half expected to wake up to a dead Lightning Maroon, but it wasn’t. It’s appetite was “not great”. So one of the big questions here is how to turn this around. I started medicating with Maracyn SW yesterday, but that only treats gram-positive bacterial infections. While the symptoms match up well with the symptoms of diseases Maracyn is supposed to treat, would it actually work?

And so, I embarked on a search for the companion product, Maracyn II SW. The active ingredient is Monocycline. I was 30 minutes into a 6 hour round trip to the only store in the Twin Cities that had the medication on hand (Ocean Devotion), when I got a call back from local reefer Frank Wotruba saying he had it on-hand. Shortly therafter, Jay Hansen also called saying he had it on hand. This is a great example of the benefits of being am actively participating member of a marine aquarium club.

I picked up a package of Maracyn II SW from Frank, and headed home. I had put in a call to Sentry AQ, the current manufacturers of Mardel aquarium medications, as I wanted to confirm that I could use Maracyn SW in conjunction with Maracyn II SW. The woman who I spoke with was kind, if not helpful, as the fish guy was out to lunch. I never did get a call back despite leaving my information, but later I found an acceptable answer on the website:

“Yes, Mardel Maracyn can be used in conjunction with almost all Mardel fish medications. The only exception would be Maracyn Plus. (We do not recommend using another antibiotic with Maracyn Plus.)”

This means that the two can be conjoined, and so, without delay, I added in the first dosage of Maracyn II for marine fish to the Lightning Maroon’s tank.  I think we’re looking at a pretty strong case to be made that both these anti-biotics are completely reef safe…although your water will glow yellow with the blue lighting.

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Once again I woke up expecting to find a dead Lightning Maroon. The spread of the mouth rot seems to have stopped, but there is definitely necrotic tissue breakdown happening. It is possible that even if I save the fish, it will loose at minimum the upper right maxillary. Thankfully that’s not a problem for a fish; they actually use maxillary clips in young salmonids to help with strain and year class identification in hatchery fish. Still, outwardly, things do not look any BETTER. Yes, I have contemplated surgery.

Knowing that Maracyn II SW treats gram negative bacteria, and knowing that will more likely impact biological filtration, I did a 10 gallon water change around noon.  The Onyx Perc eggs hatched overnight, and the fish overall are ignoring the tile.  I did use some Tropic Marin ElimAptasia to knock back the larger anemones…while the fish might be protected, I wonder if the infected area is getting stung by the Aiptasia and screwing up the healing process.  After this work, I dosed with both Maracyn SW and Maracyn II SW. So this is day 3 for Erythromycin, and day 2 for Monocycline.  And yes, looking back at the Morse Code Maroon now, I know I switched to this combination of medications after Kanamycin failed to give me any results.  If I am dealing with an internal fungal infection, particular the type that can be introduced through the feeding of raw fish (I have no clue what foods, if any that I have, contain raw fish), there is little I can do as far as my reading suggests.  Still, I may have to switch here and go to a hospital tank if what I’m doing at this point fails to work.  Yes, I am thinking of plan B now.

I truly have no clue how this will all turn out, and I am beyond frustrated. That said, I’m also completely confident that I’m doing the best I can with the materials I have, so there’s no burden of guilt here. Solely the stress of fighting off what could be the end of a 2 year effort to breed this magnificent fish.

Suspect in custody…

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So…another day goes by and I’ve noticed the following – not only has the Lightning Maroon’s right pectoral fin become damaged, but so has his right ventral/pelvic fin.  It looks to be about the same age as the other damage judging by the condition.  Neither appear to be fresh, and nothing seems to have spread.  Seeing damage on multiple fins really had me thinking “fin rot” until I noticed something else…

The female Bristletail Filefish, Acriecthys tomentosus, has a few chunks missing from her tail.  I think I’m starting to piece things together…I *think* that the male Filefish may be getting a bit nippy with his tankmates.  Certainly, it is conceivable that the fins damaged on the Lighting Maroon were “accessible” to an inquisitive Filefish, which can easily get it’s nose inside the cage through the larger openings in the eggcrate.  These fins would easily be exposed if the Lightning Maroon was resting in the back corner as it sometimes does.

Still, taking no chances, a second dose of Maracyn SW went into the tank tonight.  I will be keeping an eye on the filefish to see if I catch them in the act at all.  I’m back on the fence of how I intend to proceed mate wise, and looking forward to a time when the Lightning doesn’t have to be sequestered in a protective cage (which seems to have failed at its job anyway)!

Precautions…

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So it’s been over a week since the Lightning Maroon’s first date.  I left for MACNA XXII in Orlando Wednesday night (9-1), and returned on Sunday (9-5).   Between then, my wife cared for the tanks for a day, and then my good friend Jay took over for Friday-Sunday.

So Jay told me that our little Lightning had been “sulking” and indeed, when I got home on Sunday, the coloration was darker and the fish was indeed sulking.  It still ate well once food was introduced.  Is the Lighting Maroon heartbroken?  Not sure.  Things looked OK, but I’m not one for taking chances, so a water change was performed.  The tank housing the Lightning Maroon has developed a bit of a cyanobacteria (Red Slime Algae) problem since I had to swap out lights, and on Monday night, I gave the tank another 25% water change.

Still, the Lightning Maroon just doesn’t seem happy.  It ate alright, but seemed to sulk in the back corner.  The dorsal fin damage incurred from the “date” had fully healed.  But tonight, I noticed, the right pectoral fin has a big chunk missing from the lower half.  I am beyond stumped…I think I would have noticed damage like this after the “date”.  No, I think this is something new.  But what is it?

Of course, my heart races at the thought that this is some sort of fin rot.  Without harassing the fish excessively however, it doesn’t really look like fin rot, no it kindof looks more like mechanical damage that is healing.  It’s really hard to tell.  Did one of the tankmates grab this fish through the egg crate and cause this damage?  There is only one fish in the tank that could cause this – the Labrador Maroon.  But still, it doesn’t look like that’s the case either.  The damage has a wierd shape to it, as if the fin was nipped multiple times…perhaps by a Bristletail Filefish?

I’m stumped.  I did my best to get some pictures.  I just can’t get close enough to see what is really going on.  I did a 25% water change earlier this evening, and again tonight, trying to remove as much of the cyanobacteria as possible.  Out came the carbon and phosban.  While Christine Williams is going to give me all sorts of grief over this, I dosed the tank tonight with Maracyn SW.  I am comfortable with it as a prophalactic and I know it will knock back the cyano in the tank that has smothered a frag or two.  I will be watching carefully tonight and will reassess in the morning.  For now, the Lightning is still eating, which is always a good sign.  I am hoping this is just mechanical damage and I’m overreacting.

Of course, if you owned the fish that got a standing ovation at the MACNA XXII banquet Saturday night during David Vosseler’s presentation on PNG SEASMART, you might be overreacting, or “extra cautious” too.  OK, maybe not quite a standing ovation, but seriously, 1300 people applauding the Lightning Maroon?  More on MACNA in a later post…this seemed more pressing of an update.

The net result is this – if this is mechanical damage, I think I have to allow the Lighting Maroon to become a female.  I cannot risk this type of interaction occurring again.  After all, this fish is in the most stable, well filtered aquarium I have, and it is in an egg-crate cage, and somehow it still winds up with half a pectoral fin missing?  You’d be scratching your head too…

I shot 50 images and NONE show the damage on the pectoral fin with any amount of clarity.  Will try again later.  All around a frustrating day in the world of the Lighting Maroon!

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