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Old 08-01-2003, 11:37 PM   #1
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Cowfish with unknown ailment

I have had a cowfish for 4 days now. He's been absolutely fine in my tank, but now he has like 3-4 white dots on him. They look kind of like ich, but every fish I've had before that had ich had the white spots *all* over them. A guy at the LFS says he thinks it's lymphosistus or something like that.

I wouldn't even be posting since there are exactly 5 spots on him... however 3 of them are on one of his fins, and he is holding up against his body and not using it to swim. What do you recommend that I do?
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Old 08-02-2003, 12:17 AM   #2
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FYI...

1) I do not have a cycled 10-gallon tank (I do have a 10 gal with a sponge filter, just not cycled)
2) I'd like to add to the part where I said there are 3 dots on the fin that he is holding against his body. First of all, they are so close together, it looks more like a white blur... like a fuzz. It might be my imagination, but they look like three dots, but it could be one larger mass, like velvet or something. I've never seen velvet, though, so I couldn't say.
3) I just put him in a holding net that is hanging on the side of my tank because the cleaner shrimp was going after him and freaking him out. Since being put in that net, he's using the affected fin.
4) He is otherwise acting normal in all ways. No darting around like a fish with ich. He's eating, he's alert, he's swimming around continuously, and he's generally no different than when I first got him.

Anyone agree with this lymphowhatever the guy at the LFS suggested could be the problem? Anyone have any info on it?
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Old 08-02-2003, 01:56 AM   #3
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Could easily be lymphocystis or possibley fungus but given the history of your tank, I am more inclined toward C irritans

As said before, a QT does not need to be cycled and would be the best place for the clown at this point in the event treatment is needed. As also stated before, if infected the main 45 gal tank must remain fishless for no less than 4 weeks.

I would also hope that this would be the last time you are urged to properly QT all new fish prior to placing them in the main display tank. Had you done so there is a very real possibility the clown would not have this problem. At the very least, it would have been acclimated into the QT where it could have been easily treated without the stress of being netted and transfered to another tank in such a short time.

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Old 08-02-2003, 11:17 AM   #4
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Could you fill me in on lymphocystis anyway? :P
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Old 08-02-2003, 01:10 PM   #5
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This is a pic of what lymphocystis looks like:



There is no real treatment for it and is usually the result from capture, poor handling, improper diet and poor water conditions. It is best left in a QT where it can clear up on it's own and not be harrased by other fish.

This is something I should be slapped for, I thought we were talking about a clown , what kind of cowfish is this. Many box/cow fish are even more prone to C irritans & Amyloodinium than the most sensitive of tangs. Quite honestly, after all the problems you have had of late, this is the absolute worst choice of fish to be keeping at this time. It should also not be confined in the breeder box.

In general, cowfish should not be housed in a reef/invertebrate settings, require low water flow when small and are extremely sensitive to their environment. Cowfish are best placed in an FO environment wish peaceful unaggressive tankmates. They will also outgrow a 45 gal tank in short order. Many will grow to a size of upto 10-12" in the home aquarium.

Also keep in mind that cowfish should not be treated with copper. If treatment is needed, malachite green would be a less stressful treatment or hyposalinity.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 08-02-2003, 01:50 PM   #6
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All very good info. Thank you, Steve.

Here is an update on the situation...

First of all, it is definitely not ich. I wish I could take a picture for you, but my parents have my camera at the moment. The white spots (which looked like ich) all started on the outer (far away from body) parts of their fins. The fin that he is holding against his body had 2-3 of them. Now they're different. They seem to be smearing towards his body. Instead of bright white spots they are now like white smears making a line from where the spot was to where the fin is attached to the body. The fin with 2-3 looks like it has been eaten on by something. It's torn badly. What is this?

I luckily took him out of the holding net last night right after I posted. He looked like it wasn't really doing him any good. Why did you say I should take him out, though?

He is now in a QT tank. I am mixing 10 gallons of water right now to replace the 10 I just siphoned from the main tank to the QT tank. The transition was really easy for him cuz he's so easy to catch. I just dipped a cup in the water and moved it over. Easy as pie.

I'm now waiting until I find out what this is before I try any treatment. Any suggestions?
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Old 08-02-2003, 02:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gauge
The fin that he is holding against his body had 2-3 of them. Now they're different. They seem to be smearing towards his body. Instead of bright white spots they are now like white smears making a line from where the spot was to where the fin is attached to the body. The fin with 2-3 looks like it has been eaten on by something. It's torn badly. What is this?
There are a few possibilities. Fin rot, fungus, and/or the possibility of oodinium. Once the camera is available, definately post a pic.

Quote:
I luckily took him out of the holding net last night right after I posted. He looked like it wasn't really doing him any good. Why did you say I should take him out, though?
Confining any fish in such a small space like that is not good at the best of times. When there is the possibility of an ailment, the increased stress will only result in a slower immune response and the fish becomes even more afflicted.

Quote:
He is now in a QT tank. I am mixing 10 gallons of water right now to replace the 10 I just siphoned from the main tank to the QT tank.
Do not change the water in the QT unless there are signs of ammonia. Syphoning the water from the main tank was the best method. Have you used any media from the 45 to seed the sponge filter?

Quote:
I'm now waiting until I find out what this is before I try any treatment. Any suggestions?
At this point I am not willing to suggest a course of treatment due to the lack of possitive ID on the problem. If it is simple finrot or fungus, both should clear up on their own with better water quality and some additional vitamins added to the foods like Zoe or Selcon. If C irritans or oodinium a much stronger treatment would be necessary.

How long before the camera arrives?

Cheers
Steve
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Old 08-02-2003, 03:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Have you used any media from the 45 to seed the sponge filter?
Yes, the sponge filter sat in the bakpak last night and I took about 50% of the bioballs out of the filter and put them in a net in the QT tank (since he was about 50% of the load on my tank). I'll be watching ammonia and nitrites closely.

After talking at length with a knowledgable guy at a LFS today, I think that it's most likely fin rot. I bought some Kanacyn and put the recommended dosage in the tank. I'll probably be able to put a pic up tomorrow.
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Old 08-02-2003, 04:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gauge
After talking at length with a knowledgable guy at a LFS today, I bought some Kanacyn and put the recommended dosage in the tank.
As said before, LFS advice should be taken with a grain of salt (pun intended). Had he properly evaluated your circumstance, finrot in most all cases is easily cleared up with improved diet and water quality.

Since the QT is uncycled and you have just transfered the bio balls to colonize the needed bacteria, they are now wasted. Kanacyn is a broad spetrum anti-biotic and will kill all the beneficail bacteria that was contained in those bio balls. You should also not transfer them back to the main tank as they would most likley take the treatment with them. Best thing for those is either bleached, rinsed well and dried for a week or more or the garbage.

A better "bio" friendly treatment for finrot would have been Melafix. If indeed that's what it is.

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Old 08-03-2003, 02:02 AM   #10
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Steve-S, I have to tell you again that I really, really, really appreciate all your help. If I offend you in any way by not taking your advice, I apologise. It's not meant as an insult to you, and it's not me just being stupid. I assume you remember when you first got into this hobby and lots of people told you lots of things about different issues. On the ich issue in particular, I kind of believe the "ich is always in your tank" theory. Please don't be upset about that, though. I've heard both sides argued by a lot of people. This one, I tend to believe the other side, that's all. I still value your advice very much, or I wouldn't be posting here.

Anyway, the cowfish has passed. I still don't have my stupid camera, so I couldn't get a picture of whatever his problem was. My tomato clown seems to be doing fine in the main tank now, though. You remember when I had the nitrite issue, I assume, and I finally got that to go away. My water parameters were perfect... so I added a chromis. I waited a few days and they remained perfect, so I got rid of the chromis and added the clownfish, thus keeping about the same load. Then after they were still in line, I switched out my other chromis for the cowfish. Then the nitrites went back up to about 0.05-0.1. I think that this probably had something to do with his infection being an issue.

I don't know why my nitrites won't stay under control, but the solution is on the way. I ordered a 75 gallon sump setup, and it should be here next week. I'm going to set it up, slowly remove the biomedia out of my bakpak, and then slowly add fish. I figure one fish per week or two starting with the most hardy fish I want and moving up to the least.

I'm also going to get my QT tank going full time. I'm going to buy a couple chromis (maybe one, but probably two) and put them in there to keep it cycled. When I need to put a fish in the tank, I'm going to take them out and put them in the main tank in some sort of container (critter ball, breeder net, etc.) This way I can get them out easily and do the moving back and forth without any trouble. When the QT'd fish is ready to move to the main tank, I'll move the chromis back. This way the main tank gets started on being able to have the load increased and the QT tank stays cycled.

I do have a couple questions about this QT tank procedure I'm planning, though...

1) How long do you think chromis could last in a little critter ball or breeder net without stressing to death? I really hate trying to catch those little buggers because they make me move all my rock just to get them.
2) I would like to have some sort of substrate in the QT tank so it looks even remotely presentable. I know that copper can stay in your substrate almost indefinitely. Is there any problem with new fish getting a hint of copper? Isn't it nearly (if not entirely) harmless to fish as long as it's within the right range?
3) I wouldn't mind keeping the permanent QT tank fish in the QT tank while I'm QTing a new fish for the main tank. However, the fish that seem obvious to use for this task are chromis (or some other damsel). The reason I would move them from QT to main when I'm QTing a new fish is to avoid territorialism, which damsels are prone to, even if it's to varying degrees. Could you recommend another inexpensive, hardy fish that is not prone to territorialism so I don't have to move them?

Again, thank you very much for your help, Steve-S. Although I'm sure it looks like I'm ignoring all of your advice, I'm really not. I value your input, friend. (This also goes to everyone else that helps me. Steve-S just seems to be my biggest helper, along with fishfreek and reefrunner69).
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Female lyretail anthias, eyelash blenny, tomato clown, saddleback clown, firefish goby, 2 sand-sifting stars
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