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Old 10-15-2007, 04:36 PM   #1
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Clown Goby - flashing and blotchy, ragged tail fin

Subject line says it all. On Friday, noticed the tail fin on my Yellow Clown Goby looked a little ragged. Still ate fine and acted normal. Looked about the same on Saturday.

But yesterday (Sunday), I noticed it really flashing against rocks and my platygyra (it's normal "home"). Looking at it closer (hard to do with how small he is) his coloration is still great, but his skin appears "blotchy". Excess mucous, perhaps? I've seen ich, and it's not that. Doesn't seem "dusty" like Marine Velvet is described, but I've never seen velvet. Plus his respiration doesn't seem fast.

I was able to net him last night (phew!) and moved him into a QT. None of the other fish in the main show any symptoms and are acting normal. Water parameters in the main are great (1.024+ salinity, 8.2+ pH, 0/0/0.5 ammonia/nitrites/nitrates, 8 dkH/390 Ca, 77.5-78.5 degrees, 0 po4) and all fish, including the infected goby, are still eating normal.

Does this sound familiar with anyone? Basically flashing, blotchy skin, and ragged tail. I don't want to start treating for something until I have a better guess at what it is. (I've got cupramine and marycyn both onhand.) If it's Marine Velvet, then my other fish should show signs and the goby should be dead by tonight, right?

At this point I'm thinking some bacterial infection, and will adopt a "wait and see" position since I've got him isolated in the QT now. But I'm open for other ideas.

Oh... all fish have gone through quarantine for at least 4 weeks, and the goby was the last added to the tank, about 2 months ago (so I've had him 3 months). About 2 weeks ago I added a rock with mushrooms on it - no QT, but did a fairly long drip acclimation that diluted the store water by quite a bit. I then shook off as much water from the rock as I could.
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:13 PM   #2
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Bacterial infection needing anti-bacterial medication. Maracyn 2 or a broad spectrum anti-bacterial med. will do.
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:51 PM   #3
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Re: Clown Goby - flashing and blotchy, ragged tail fin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt_Nelson
I don't want to start treating for something until I have a better guess at what it is.
This is a good practice. Always best to find out first. Saying that I agree with James. Treating for a bacterial infection and in a QT will be your course of action IMO. Most times with frayed fins and tails is bacterial.
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Old 10-16-2007, 12:03 PM   #4
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Wondering if because clown gobies spend a lot of their time on corals, they are more susceptible to bacterial infection. Anyone read that, or notice in their own fish?

Just curious because as I reread my post, what jumped out at me was the fact that my goby's home is normally perched on top of my platygyra. I always read about how the mucous coat on corals is a haven for bacteria, and was wondering if that could be part of the problem.

Update: the little guy seems to be doing just fine in the QT. I didn't witness any flashing yesterday, and his "splotchiness" seems to be better. Hard to tell though because the lighting is so different (18w normal fluorescent strip light). His fin isn't getting worse, and he's still eating like a horse, so I'm going to hold off on the maracyn2 for a bit. I treated a royal gramma with that once, and didn't have success. As long as the goby appears to be getting better and not worse, I'm thinking I'll just let his own immune system do the work.

One question though for the gurus - I've always associated "flashing" with parasite. I'm now thinking that fish can scratch for just about any reason? Even a bacterial infection?
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Old 10-16-2007, 02:03 PM   #5
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I am a HUGE fan of daily 10% water changes in a QT. Keeping the water parameters pristine helps many fish fight off whatever ails them without resorting to chemical additions.

I've had succuess with this method in FW years ago and it has worked for me in SW tank too.

The fact the goby doing better in the QT leads me to believe that you are on the right track.
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Old 10-16-2007, 04:42 PM   #6
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The fact the goby doing better in the QT leads me to believe that you are on the right track.
I agree... sure seems like a water quality issue also.

But the strange thing is I consider my main tank pretty pristine to start with. 10% water changes weekly, 0.5ppm nitrates, constantly running 3 bags of Purigen, Remora Pro skimmer, blah blah blah. Water parameter-wise, my QT water tests the same as my main tank water - except my main has about 40ppm more Calcium.

That's why I was wondering if it spending most of it's time on top of a coral could be a factor. Maybe I should test the water from right above that coral and see if I have a little "microenvironment" there that's different than the rest of the tank.
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Old 10-16-2007, 05:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt_Nelson
I've always associated "flashing" with parasite. I'm now thinking that fish can scratch for just about any reason? Even a bacterial infection?
I`ve seen fish scratch or flash and not have ick. It does not always mean ick.
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Old 10-16-2007, 08:31 PM   #8
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Have you noticed any agression from other livestock. That could stress the goby and be the reason that the QT is working.... just a thought.
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Old 10-16-2007, 11:30 PM   #9
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Nope... there was no aggression whatsoever. I was actually amazed at how well the little guy hung in there with his bigger tankmates (O clown, bangaii, and 3 chromis). They were all in there grabbing food at dinner time and let each other be during the rest of the time.
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Old 01-04-2008, 04:56 PM   #10
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Just figured I'd write an "ending" to this story...

I ended up doing hyposalinity on the goby. A few days after my last post, the "blotches" came back and there *may* of been some white specks associated with them. I say *may* because they were really really tiny - heck, it's a tiny fish! They looked way smaller than ick I've normally seen. Still wasn't convinced it was ick, but decided to treat it as if it was.

I dropped the salinity from 1.025 to 1.009 over the course of about 4 days, and kept it at 1.009 for 5 weeks. During the hypo, I never had any issues with ammonia and only added a buffer a couple times to make sure I didn't have any pH dips. One thing I learned was that test kits for saltwater are tough to use when doing hyposalinity, since it's sooo close to being freshwater! Trying to interpret the test kit colors was an "interesting" exercise.

The fish didn't seem too concerned at all by the low SG. It's coloration wasn't the best in the world during that time, but it continued to eat and act normal. The blotches/specks cleared up, and once they did, the 5 week clock started ticking. At the end, I brought the water back up to 1.025 over about a week period. I then kept him in the 1.025 QT for another week, just for good measure.

I've since put him back in the main tank, and he quickly found his favorite platygyra and went back to his old routines after a day or two.

Still not sure what it was, but it seems like he either managed to heal himself, or it had ich and the hypo did away with it. But if it was ich, nobody else in my main tank has showed any signs of it. Plus I quarantined all the fish for 4 weeks minimum as they were coming in. Guess that still doesn't guarantee an ich-free tank, but it sure would surprise me if it was there.

We'll see if he can stay healthy this time!
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