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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am having a pretty rough time identifying the parasite or bacterial infection that is present in my fowlr tank. I have a 60 gallon with a Kole Tang, 3 firefish, a 3 stripe damsel, some hermits and turbo snails, and a skunk cleaner shrimp.

The Kole tang and damsel are pretty regularly scratching themselves against the rocks, and I lost a Klein butterfly yesterday after who was also flashing. The Klein and Kole were pretty consistently floating near the shrimp to ask for cleaning, but for some reason he was hesitant but occassionally did abide. The only physical signs I see, aside from flashing, are present on the Kole which are strange looking blotches of mis-colored scales. They are darker than the rest of his body, and he has gotten rather pale over the last couple days. The damsel looks as he always has, but is scratching regularly. I also noticed one of the fire goby's starting to scratch as well.

My pH is at 7.9. My nitrates are a bit high at 30-40ppm. Ammonia and nitrite are both 0. I tried taking a pic of the Kole but he is shying away from me when I approach the tank.

I have hang-on-the-back filter, about 70lbs of LR.

I was hoping to get some advice on what to do to narrow down the issue, and whether or not a freshwater dip would be advisable. Thanks for any advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I got the tang a little over 2 weeks ago. I've been mixing it up with emerald entree, brine and mysis. Internal bleeding would make sense, now that you mention it. I believe the Klein butterfly looked to have internal bleeding, but it only was apparent right before it died.

I do water changes once per week, although sometimes it'll be every other week. I usually change between 5 and 10 gallons per week. I submerge the siphon at the top of the tank, plug the small end with my finger and get it flowing that way. I don't usually vacuum the sand but have a few times since I set the tank up maybe 5 months ago.

I haven't noticed any white dots/specs on any of the sick fish at any point, which is why I haven't thought that it could be Ich.

This is the best picture I could get:

Hmm I can't post the image because I don't have enough posts.

Imgur . com / RBRCVyF
 

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Well lemme see if I can dig up some readings. I read paulb's book and he mentions internal bleeding in it. All I remember is that there isn't anything that can be done about it and it's invariably fatal. If you have some kind of receipt or warranty, I would take the fish, dead or alive back to the store for a refund. Not a replacement, until your tank is better.
In the meantime, what you can do to help your fish is provide them with a clean tank. This will reduce their stress.
The hang on back filter is not really gonna do very much to reduce the nutrients ( fish poo) in the water. Do you have a skimmer? In order for the skimmer or HOB filter to remove anything, the nutrient has to be inside the water column. Sometimes I use a HOB filter but only after I do a water change and cleaning. That way it removes some of the "dust" in the water column. I also have a skimmer. In order for the skimmer to do its job you should have good flow in your tank. How many power heads do you have , what is their rating gph? Your return pump--- what is its rating? I think I remember that you want 40-50x tank volume in flow . So for you, that means you wanna be moving 2500-3000 gallons per hour.
Aim power heads at rocks to blow them off, or you can use a turkey baster when you do your cleanings. Also, this is very important..... Vacuum out your sandbed every time you clean .... Which should be weekly. Otherwise, it just stays there...and rots. The skimmer can't get to it and neither can the HOB filter. How deep is the sandbed? If you vacuum out some sand while doing your cleanings, rinse it with fresh saltwater or RODI water and then put it back. Scrub your rocks with a toothbrush if you're having algae issues.

Do not add any more fish right now. They are fueling your nitrates. I would also consider the size of a full grown tang if you plan on getting another, 60 gallons is pretty small.
I will get back to you with the readings.
 

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Ah.... Okay... I found the info with the internal bleeding. Paulb would know better than I, but he thinks that this happens during the collection of the fish... Especially thin fish. There is no treatment. Sorry...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I meant to mention that they don't seem to be having trouble breathing. The Klein was gasping for breath near the end, however. The Klein also had 1 fin that was in really bad shape near the end as well. Earlier that same day (yesterday) I didn't notice any internal bleeding and he was swimming fine. He was obviously bothered by whatever was happening because he kept scratching and was really intent on swimming into the current of my filter, but his overall physical appearance was mostly normal.

I think this is some sort of parasite or bacteria because of the fact that I saw such irritation in one fish, and now it seems to have spread to 3 others-- the tang, firefish, and damsel and they all have similar reactions without displaying any of this behavior over the course of the last few weeks. The firefish and damsel, at this point, all have normal appearance, but they have started flashing/scratching like the others did and I'm expecting symptoms to be worse tomorrow. As I mentioned though, I haven't seen any of the white dots signifying Ich.

I am definitely going to research my options for a skimmer and powerheads and pick them up or order them tomorrow. In the meantime I will give my rock some 'cleaning' with a turkey baster. I really appreciate the help and research! Thank you.
 

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Don't forget the sand:)
I hope the others will pull through. If not, you need to let the tank "go fallow" for a while to let the parasites and their eggs starve and die out.
Reef octopus are good skimmers. Eco techs are really good power heads, but they are expensive. The koralias are pretty good, and more affordable.
What kind of water are you using for topoff a and to mix your saltwater? Spectrapure.com is a good place to start if you don't have RODI water or are buying water from your LFS.
I know I suggested a bunch of equipment... But a good skimmer, clean water and good flow are foundational and will help your tank to be prettier and healthier.
 

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Of course we can't see the fish from here but your fish have some kind of gill parasites. They can't be treated in your main tank. Copper will cure them if you treat them early enough. If they are gasping near the surface, give them last rites as they are probably to far gone. They don't have a bacteria infection except what they may be getting from scratching on the rocks. Good luck
 

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Of course we can't see the fish from here but your fish have some kind of gill parasites. They can't be treated in your main tank. Copper will cure them if you treat them early enough. If they are gasping near the surface, give them last rites as they are probably to far gone. They don't have a bacteria infection except what they may be getting from scratching on the rocks. Good luck
I'm not so sure I agree with this advice. First of all we dont know if it's a gill parasite or not...my guess is it is not. Secondly, the tank is FOWLR, so he could theoretically treat the main tank if he wants. Third, gasping doesn't necessarily mean they are too far gone....it could mean many things (poor circulation, low dissolved oxygen, etc). Lastly, I'm not sure you can rule out bacteria infection at this point unless you have information not included here.
 

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Can you treat with copper if you've got inverts in the tank?
No. Copper will soak into the rock as well so you'd likely never be able to keep inverts with that rock again. I highly recommend using a hospital tank if treating with copper.
 

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Scratching against the rocks and flashing "usually" means gill parasites and due to that they often get a bacterial infection. As I said, I can't see the fish from here. Normally gill parasites induce faster breathing but sometimes that is hard to notice. Gasping at the surface would not mean low oxygen unless all the other fish were doing it.
 
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