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Old 04-04-2007, 08:27 AM   #1
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Mysterious lionfish issue?

I haven't had any fish in my quarantine tank for probably about 4 months now. It's been running with a filter and everything; parameters have been ideal for the whole time.

I bought a dwarf lionfish and put him in my quarantine tank. He, like many lionfish, wouldn't eat frozen food. I spent about a week trying to get him to eat frozen food but I gave him ghost shrimp a few times because he was getting a little skinny. 2 days before he died his eyes started getting a little cloudy then the day I saw him dead his skin was peeling off in parts and there was a section of about 1" x 1" skin floating in the tank (he is in there alone by the way so I know another fish didn't do this to him).

2 weeks later I bought a volitan lionfish and since I thought it could have been a problem with my QT, I put him in my main tank. When I bought him I asked to see him eat frozen foods, and he woofed it down and looked healthy. When I took him home he wouldn't eat a single thing, even live food and after 3-4 days his eyes started getting cloudy and his skin hasn't peeled but it's looking splotchy.

I have a few other fish and they have been as healthy as can be... all have had full-length quarantines alone, QT has been empty between quarantining each new fish for several weeks, they are eating great, no skin or eye problems, no health problems at all. I've had them for several months now without any problems so I find it unusual that I bought two fish from two different stores that didn't share the same water that seem to have the same issue.

Any ideas?
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Old 04-04-2007, 10:19 AM   #2
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Fish are often stressed when introduced to a new environment and even though a fish may appear to be healthy when you buy it the added stress of moving it to a new tank can reduce it's ability to fight off disease.

Was your QT still cycled? If you didn't add a nh3 source then the bacteria would have died off and nh3 poisoning could have killed your first fish.

If cloudy eyes chances are it is a gram negative bacteriological infection. How does your water test? If it tests OK for ammonia which should be zero, (if present could cause burns and thus damage delicate eye tissue) then it is probably bacterial.

You need to move your lion back into a cycled QT and treat it.

As it is difficult to determine the exact type of bacteria causing the infection a broad spectrum antibiotic such as Saltwater Maracyn 2 would be good to use.

Make sure you have plenty of fresh mixed SW on hand for emergency pwc also.
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Old 04-04-2007, 10:46 AM   #3
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I agree with Micah, it sounds like the beneficial bacteria had starved in your QT, if you were not adding a food source to it.
I would definitely get your QT up and running and treat the lion in there. I would also soak his food in some garlic guard to help his immune system. Sometimes the garlic will stimulate them to eat.
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Old 04-04-2007, 03:22 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick response.

Lionfish update: He has since did in a very simlar fashion to the origional lionfish.

I had not been adding any food to my QT, so i'm sure the bacteria did die off as you said. However, even still my Ammonia levels are at 0 in the QT since I couldn't get him to eat and I removed all uneaten food, and he didn't produce much waste.

Although, if it was Ammonia, could that cause his skin to peel off? When I had a smaller 55 gallon tank, and it was tougher to keep ammonia levels in line (it was a little overstocked), I never saw that happen with any of my fish even when the ammonia levels were higher than desirable.

Is velvet a possible culprit? I have never had it in my tank, yet I read that cloudy eyes, lethargy, loss of appetite, peeling skin, and death are symptoms (all of which both lionfish have experienced now). I treated my tank with a relatively small dose of Coppersafe this morning to prevent any outbreak that may result. I didn't want to do a full dose and stress the fish over nothing.

I also checked all of my other fish. None of my fish are showing any of these symptoms and are still extremely healthy.
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Old 04-04-2007, 03:40 PM   #5
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In the terminal stages of ICH, the skin comes off in shreads. The cloudy eyes could have been a secondary bacterial infection.
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Old 04-04-2007, 03:43 PM   #6
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Did you ever notice a mucus coating on the skin? If so it could have been velvet or Brooklynella .

Did you use Coppersafe in the main tank?
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Old 04-04-2007, 03:52 PM   #7
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It did seem as though the lionfish had the mucus coating, as his coloration was very blurred and faded.

I did use the Coppersafe in the main tank. I have a 210 gallon FOWLR tank and plan on keeping it that way forever. I had a mild case of ich in the tank about 2 months ago, and after trying nearly every type of treatment with little to no effect, I gave Coppersafe a try with phenominal results, so I have been very happy with it thus far.
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Old 04-04-2007, 04:02 PM   #8
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Keep in mind, in order to "starve" out ich, the tank needs to be fallow for at least 8 weeks.
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Old 04-04-2007, 04:09 PM   #9
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I may not be familiar with the term but what do you mean by "the tank needs to be fallow for at least 8 weeks"?

If it means that treatment must follow for 8 weeks, I used it for a little over a month, which was about 3 weeks after the last spot of ich dissapeared (I think the bottle recommended to continue for 3 days after last spot is gon) so I may have stopped treatment prematurely. Should I treat it now for several more weeks? I had planned on just using a small dosage (right now only 50% of reccommended dose) to prevent an outbreak if velvet is the problem, then keeping a close eye on the fish and increase the dosage to the full amount at the first sign of ich or velvet.
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Old 04-04-2007, 04:22 PM   #10
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Fallow means fishless. I forgot you used the copper. I'm not sure what to tell you about continuing with the copper. I have never used it. Sorry for the confusion. Are you QT'ing your fish before you are adding them to your display?
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