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Old 10-22-2010, 04:42 AM   #1
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Need advice on tail fin rot

I have a Foxface (~7") that has developed fin rot in the tail fin. I have tried several times to catch it for a quarantine tank with no luck. I have a 175 gallon reef tank and dismantling it is a big job. So, I left it alone hoping it will get better. Well it is not. Now it is so bad that it has trouble swimming. Here is a photo.



Closeup of the tail fin.



I am wondering if I can still save this fish without getting it into a quarantine tank by using something like Aqua Pro-Cure by Fishvet. Any suggestions?

I also have a second fish which is a yellow tang (~4") that has developed fin rot. Here is a photo.



I think if I don't do something, they are just going to get worse. Here are the particulars of my system:

The Foxface has been in my tank since day 1 which was 3 years ago. It developed fin rot about 6 months ago. The yellow tang was purchased 4 months ago and I noticed fin rot about 3 weeks ago.

Tank mates are a Powder Blue Tang (7"), Sweetlip (7"), Brown Tang (3.5"), Skunk Clown, Royal Dottyback, Green Chromis, Fire Shrimps, Pearl Crab, Star Fish. No one really bothers the Foxface since he is one of the big guys. He was really aggressive before and killed the other Foxface 1 1/2 years ago.

The Yellow Tang is eating fine still, but the Foxface doesn't eat that readily. It tends to hang around near the surface and often more vertically than horizontally.

My water parameters are normal except NO3 is on the high side at 80. I am doing water changes more often to try to bring it down. I have a sulphur denitrator plus a DIY coil denitrator. The media in the sulphur unit has expired and it is putting out more NO3 than in. So I need to replace the media. So far, after 2 months, I still can't get the coil denitrator to output lower NO3 water. NO2 is zero, phosphate zero, ammonia zero, alkalinity 9.8, pH 8.2, temp 78F fluctuating 2-3 degrees daily, SPG 1.022.

The Foxface seems to be less active than before. It does not chase after the food like the others do. It does not hang out in any particular spot in the tank, but near the surface. Also, it tends to hang in one spot rather than swim around. It is not flashing. I have not done any treatment yet except trying to use AZNO3 to lower the nitrate level.

My system has a hybrid filtration system. Under the main tank is the standard filter sock, skimmer, wet/dry bio balls, and a sump with live rocks, sand/mud, and mangrove plants. Water is pumped from the sump to a Hyatt filter system which consists of 2 cartridge filters, one containing tri-based carbon and the other calcium rock. It is then fed back via 7 jets to the main tank. I am still struggling with the flow rate. I think it is only running at around 1200gal/hr. But I have 4 powerheads controlled by a wave maker running 2 on 2 off to increase circulation within the tank.

My main tank is 175 gallons with live rock and 2" sand bed. It is a see through tank with the rocks stacked with a lot of through holes. This makes catching a fish impossible. With all the corals and anemone, dismantling to catch the fish seems impractical. Here is a photo of the tank. It is an older photo before the powerheads were installed.



I dose ESV B-ionic and iodine with an auto drip system. I dose Strontium and Molybdenum manually. I also have been using Joe's Juice to fight with a major Aptasia issue. Other than that, no other medication.

I have been researching medication for fin rot that will work in the main tank of a reef system. Melafix seems to get mixed review. Does anyone have experience with FishVet Inc's Aqua Pro-Cure or Revive? Am I too late with the Foxface without antibiotics? Perhaps I should try one of these at least to cure the yellow tang. You opinions are appreciated.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:01 AM   #2
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I'm not sure the Foxface will make it with that much fin rot.

You need to get your water parameters in check. Start with 30% PWCs at least weekly, but 10% every day would be a better attack. You need to get NO3 down below 10. A reading of 80 is the high end for fish.

STOP DOSING IODINE and anything else you are not testing levels on. That inlcudes the Strontium and Molybdenum.

There are various fish traps you can buy or make or you can Go Fishing. Do a search on this site for methods to trap fish and get them into QT or just read Steven Pro's article on Fish Removal Tips & Tricks

You cna try a nitrofurazone based product for treatment, but pristine water quality will help fish resist it and keep them healthy.

Good luck and please keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:11 PM   #3
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Caught the Foxface

Cmor,

Thank you so much for the fishing tip. I managed to catch the Foxface in the dark since it hangs close to the surface. The Yellow Tang sleeps in a hole under the rocks. So, he would be hard to get.

I have a 10 gallon hospital tank set up and following the instructions for BiFuran+. Fish in not eating at all now. Hope it survives. How many days of BiFuran+ do you think I should do? I think I'll keep it in the sump tank if it survives the BiFuran+ treatment so it is easier to move.

Also changing 10% water in the main tank daily. I guess you would advice good water quality over using drugs in the main tank for the Yellow Tang?
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Old 10-24-2010, 01:01 PM   #4
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That decision is up to you. The YT may recover from just being in pristine water conditions, but it is beat up enough that treatment would be the better option at this point.

Catching and moving it will stress it. I have a clear acryllic fish catcher with a door that swings closed. I bait the trap and wait for the right fish to go inside before closing the door. Much less stress than netting, but take a lot more time.

Personally, I would leave the YT in the tank and keep doing daily 10% water changes for a month. If you don't notice water parameter improvements in a few days, up the % of the daily PWC and cut way back on feeding to jsut once every 3 days. Keep that up for a month and look for improvement in the YT during that time.
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Old 10-24-2010, 04:24 PM   #5
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Seeing the condition the foxface is in, I would medicate with an anti-bacterial and 50% water changes daily in a QT.
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:55 PM   #6
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Hi James,

I think that's the plan for the Foxface. The YT may be ok and recover in the DT if water conditions improve.

Thanks for coming onboard on this thread. Your advice is always appreciated.
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:39 PM   #7
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The foxface might look like fin rot, but it looks like a secondary bactrial infection. Your Yellow tank looks like someone is nipping at it's fin. What other fish do you have in there that might be nipping at fins.
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:15 PM   #8
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Finished with 7 days BiFuran+ Treatment

Thank you so much for all the advice. I have been treating the Foxface in a 10 gal QT using BiFuran+ per label instructions @ 9.70 gm per 24 hrs. I did 75% water change before adding the BiFuran each day. The water is really yellow. That's why I did 75% instead of 50%. Here are close up photos of the tail during this process.

Pre-Treatment


Day 2 of Treatment


Day 4 of Treatment


Day 5 of Treatment


Day 6 of Treatment


Day 7 of Treatment



Since it was not eating, I kept it in the QT for 1 more day after the 7 day treatment schedule and transferred it into the refugium on day 8. It is still not eating and just hang near the surface.

The photos seems to show a little bit of fin growth. So, I am hopeful. It is hard to get good photos through the yellow stuff in the QT.

On the main tank, I have been doing daily 10-15% water change. (Wow, using up a lot of salt). It stayed at 80 for 6 days, 40 for 4 days, and today it is at 20. I also have my sulphur denitrator working again and it is pushing out zero nitrate water at 20cc per 23 seconds which is about equivalent to 60% water change per week for my 230 gal total system volume. Do you think I can back the water change a little now and let the denitrator do it's thing? I have cut back the feeding to once every 3 days also per cmor's suggestion.

I guess I'll just watch this Foxface for a while and if it starts eating again, I'll put him back into the main tank. Any comments on this plan?

As for thincat's question on the Yellow Tang, the Royal Dottyback was chasing it when I first got it 4 months ago, but it only did that for a couple of days. Yes, I think there is bacteria infection too. But since it hides under the rocks at night, it will take some work to come up with a trap per cmor's suggestion. Got any good links for building a trap for a 4" yellow tang? Pictures would be most helpful.
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Old 11-06-2010, 03:17 PM   #9
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Question 7 Days after the BiFuran+ Treatment

Hi,

It is now 7 days after the BiFuran+ treatment and the Foxface is not happy living the the tight quarters of the refugium. It is quite skiddish when I approach to refugium. Here is a photo of its tail fin. I do not see much growth compared to the older pictures. It seems more lively now and eats a little.

Should I attempt a different treatment or should I just wait, or should I return it to the display tank? What do you think?

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Old 11-06-2010, 08:52 PM   #10
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The tail looks much better so continue treatment if your directions call for it. Bifuran+ is nitrofurazone and furazolidone so you can effectively redose. The tail is not going to grow back in a month's time and with that much damage it could take up to several months, possibly longer. I would not return the animal to the display tank at this point in time.
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