FAQs, Common Treatments, Quarantine, Health Info


Staff member
How to Post in the Disease Forum
By jwtrojan44
When posting in the Disease Forum, speed in getting answers to your fish's disease problem is uppermost on your mind. Thus, I'm posting up some Disease Forum suggestions by jwtrojan44.
Probably one of the most frustrating things we can deal with is illness in our fish. In most cases, hobbyists aren't sure what they're up against, let alone how to go about properly treating the problem. When someone posts in this particular forum, it is because they have an emergent need for info and reliable treatment recommendations. Often times, however, the initial post is lacking in vital information that is needed to accurately diagnose a health concern and offer advice.
Example; "I think my fish has ich or something, what should I do?"
It's important to be as specific and detailed as possible with your problem, much as you would with a family doctor when you are ill.
Some things to be included in your original post/question;
1. State the problem as you see it and provide details.
2. List symptoms...white spots, not eating, labored breathing, etc.
3. How long the fish has been exhibiting these symptoms.
4. What is in the tank; other fish, live rock, corals, inverts.
5. State the tank size, and how long the tank has been up and running.
5. Diet; what are you feeding the fish, and do you use any supplements like selcon, zoe, zoecon or garlic.
6. How long have you had the particular fish and have there been any new additions.
7. Was the fish quarantined prior to placing it in your main tank, and do you have a quarantine tank that you can use? EVERYONE SHOULD!!!)
8. Have you tried any treatments thus far before posting here. And, if so, describe what you have done.
9. Water parameters!!! ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, temperature and salinity. These are very important to know. Please don't say "my water quality is good". Give real numbers. It could be the key to solving the problem.
Some of these things may not seem relevant but they are, and many of them can aid the moderators and members knowledgeable in disease to quickly give you advice that will aid in getting your fish back to good health. It's almost a sure bet that these questions will be asked if you don't provide the information, so save time and frustration and be as inclusive as you can in your first post.
Post Note by Beth: Also, please stay in the same thread. Don’t begin a thread and then start a new thread on the same topic. This is confusing and wastes time when people trying to help have to jump around from thread to thread to figure out what’s going on.
If you have a picture of your sick fish, post it.


Staff member
QT/HT, What is it and why should I do it?A quarantine tank is an isolated holding tank where newly acquired fish are “quarantined” for a period of time—minimally 3 weeks. It is used to observe new fish for health and potential diseases. QTs facilitate easy treatment of recently acquired specimens if disease is present or arise during the QT process. But, most significantly, it prevents fish disease contamination of healthy fish in your main tank by not exposing healthy fish to incoming fish who may be carrying diseases. With a Quarantine/hospital tank you can either set up a permanent tank, or, "as needed" which is only used when new fish are going to be intro-ed to your tank or treated for a disease. The best way to do it is set up a permanent tank.
The emphasis is on QTing incoming fish. Done correctly, most fish who then enter your main tank will likely never need to be treated for diseases in a Hospital Tank.

You need a tank, a cover, a heater [if temperature control is an issue], mechanical filtration or a mechanical means of keeping water well circulated such as powerheads, biological filtration and décor---either fake rocks or PVC.
Tank size should be based on what you intend to quarantine. If you’re going to QT large fish, then you need a large enough QT to accommodate your largest fish comfortably for at least a 3 wks. Like your main tank, larger is better, the smaller the tank, the lesser the margin for error.
If setting up an actual “tank” is not possible, you can also use dedicated Rubbermaid or plastic garbage can containers to QT fish. I personally don’t do this, for reasons that should become clear when you read the Lighting section.
You will want to set up the QT with the filtration of your choice, it can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. Sponge filters, HOT mechanical/bio filters, the built in filters that come with Eclipses are good. Your choice. I have set up QTs just using leftover equipment that I wasn’t using any more. You want to make sure that in-tank circulation is good and that surface water agitation is good to ensure adequate gas exchange. Optimum water quality is your goal in the QT. You may need to also add a heater or, perhaps even a grounding probe [especially if you are going to place tangs and angels in the QT].
Of course, you need ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kits to test the cycling process as well as to ensure that optimum water quality is maintained for the duration of your fishes’ stay in the QT.
What water to Use?

If the water in your main tank is good quality, you can use that water to fill your QT. Of course, you will then have to replace the water in your main tank with new pre-mixed, aged salt water. Doing this is a real plus because your main tank water will have bacteria in it that will help establish and cycle your new QT. Otherwise, you can do 50-50 water in the QT, meaning 50% water from your main tank and 50% pre-mixed, aged salt water. Or, if you are patient and don’t mind a slower cycling process, you can just setup the QT with all new salt water then cycle your tank. Up to you how you want to handle it.

None. At least not very much [more below]. Paint the bottom [on the outside] of your tank black or blue. Emphasis on the OUTSIDE. The reason you do this is because a QT should not have substrate. Without substrate, aquarium bottoms become reflective which can be disturbing and disorienting to fish. Don’t let anyone tell you that this is not a necessary step. It is. I have seen fish become disoriented and not able to eat properly due to reflective bottoms. Alternatively, if you have a black table top or stand, then you can place the aquarium on this and skip painting the bottom. Be sure to use black or blue. Some hobbyist will also paint the back and even the 2 sides black—further reducing reflectiveness in tank. That is optional. Tip: You can add a couple of cups of sand from your display to kick start your QT. This will seed the QT and provide more surface for biological filtration.
Live Rock/Live Sand/ Bleached Coral?

None, generally speaking but see tip below. If it becomes necessary to treat your fish while they are in QT, then porous materials, such as sand, rocks and bleached corals can become an impediment. Live rock, sand, crushed coral, dead coral, etc. will absorb some meds that you may need to use to treat diseases making it extremely difficult to maintain a therapeutic dosage of the med during treatment. You want to create a sterile environment that minimizes fish stress and is conducive to fish treatment if it becomes necessary to deal with disease. If, however, you want to use some rock rubble, you can, just know that if the need to medicate your QT/fish comes up, then the rocks should come out [and not be returned to your main tank!]
A small piece or 2 of live rock or some rubble can be added to the QT to help seed it while setting up. This will add to the biofilter, keep the QT cycled when it is not in use, and provide comfort to fish in the QT. Don't ever add LR that has any corals or sponge attached or where there are other inverts visible. The exception would be small brittlestars and worms. All LR have these and there is no way to remove them. When medications are needed, it may be necessary to remove the LR to a temporary holding area [a bucket with a PH] because it is not advisible to keep LR in the tank while meds are in use. The rock will interfere with the effectiveness of the medication. Do not add more than a very small piece or 2 of LR or rubble.
“Comfort Zones” to replace Real Rocks?

Fish must have comfort zones to hide and establish a semblance of territory. Use PVC pipe to build a simulated rock structure for your QT, or, you can use fake tank décor [which are rather expensive but nice substitutes for the real thing]. Some hobbyists even get creative with the PVC and will clue pieces together to create a reef structure. One member here suggested using black or darker colored PCV. PVC does not react with any chemical additives but provides security for fish—an essential component to fish health.
All of these are viable ideas. Fish must be at ease in the QT so do not place fish in a wasteland tank with nothing but a heater to rest up against.
Cycle the Tank?

To cycle the tank, you can add a cupful of your substrate from your main tank, a piece of inexpensive LR, and some fresh shrimp. The point here is to get the tank into cycle mode, thus you need to add organic material. The LR and sand has nitrifying bacteria in it to help speed the cycling process along. However, if you don’t want to take LR or a cup of sand out of your tank, then you can just use the fresh shrimp…it will just take a bit longer to establish your QT. LR can be returned to your main tank after the cycle as long as fish have not been in your QT.
Need Lights?

No, but, I recommend it. All you need is standard NO’s, nothing fancy. . The reason I recommend lighting is so that you can observe your fish and see if they have parasites, what condition their fins are in, breathing, scales, etc. You will need to observe your fish closely during QT to check for health and any fish diseases that may have come with them—or diseases/problems that develop while the fish are in QT. WO a light it is hard to see if fish are sick or healthy. Thus, I suggest using tank lights. It is not absolutely necessary, however.
QT continued, next post :D


Staff member
What about Maintaining the QT/HT?
Some choice here. Maintain it the same as you do your main tank, or set it up on an “as needed basis”. Optimum water quality is essential when fish are introduced to and maintained in the QT, so you will need to be diligent about maintenance while fish are in temporary holding. You want to maintain your QT at the same level as you main tank. Meaning pH, temp, etc.
If you don’t maintain a QT except when you need it [like when you are going to add fish to your collection or treat sick fish] and you set up on an as-needed basis, then you will have to perform maintenance to keep the QT from cycling. This means high maintenance on the QT to prevent it from ever going into a cycle. Daily water changes, diligently vacuuming up left over food after meals, detritus, blasting trapped debris in the simulated reef [PVC structure] off so it will settle on the aquarium floor so you can vacuum up, etc. Whatever it takes to keep the tank from going into a cycle. This takes daily diligence….no break. It only takes a few hours for food that has been left uneaten by fish to decay and start deteriorating your water quality in an uncycled tank. Now, if you don’t mind babysitting your QT, then go ahead and do it this way. Be sure to have a plentiful supply of your test kits as you will need to test daily [or more often]. Also, be prepared for lots of water changes.
Should I treat my fish even if I don’t see any Diseases?

You many also want to perform hyposalinity in the QT—regardless of the presence of parasites [ich] on fish. It can’t hurt to do it, can only benefit, but, then your QT time will be extended. You will need to reduce specific gravity/salinity over a 48-hr period, maintain the fish in hypo for 3 wks, then, over another 4-5 days bring the salinity back up to your main tank parameters. So, you are looking at another week in QT, in addition to the standard 3 wks. Hypo is a very precise process, however. You must get the specific gravity down to 1.009 and keep it there. It must not rise above that. To accomplish this, you need a refractometer or a salinity monitor to measure the salinity. Other instruments are not as precise, but you can also use a quality glass hydrometer.
Can we Get Down to the Procedure?

Quarantine procedures are as important as the equipment that you use to set up your main tank. When QTing new fish, buy only 1 at a time [the exception would be paired fish, such as mated clownfish, or schooling fish which you may need to get all at once]. The purpose of QT is to provide a safe, stress-free environment for incoming or sick fish, which is best achieved when fish do not have to compete with one another for food and space.
Acclimate the fish to the quarantine tank, which should match the water parameters of the display tank. Leave the lights off for at least a few hours after adding the fish to the QT, to reduce stress.
If you are setting up a hospital on an emergency basis, without having the benefit of establishing a viable biological filter, then the burden will be on you to maintain optimum water quality. This means, zero ammonia and zero nitrites in the QT/hospital. Because you’re working with an emergency setup, then this could well be a task involving daily water testing and water changes. BE PREPARD. In this kind of scenario, I suggest that you can use change out water from your main tank [which is aged and has bacteria] rather than using freshly mixed water. The fresh mix can go as change out water into the main tank. In this scenario, there is a benefit to performing hyposalinity regardless of parasite. The mass change out of salt water for fresh water needed to do hypo will be a significant diluting process if you are dealing with a new tank that does not have an established biological filter.
Minimum 3 wks in the QT. If the fish develops a disease while in QT, then you will have to follow the timeframe requirements of the treatment as well as the QT timeframe.

While setting up a new QT, set any filter media, sponges, etc in your main tank. While you’re setting up, these items can get a kick start in establishing a biofilter.
Add a cup or 2 of your substrate to your QT...again, kick start your biofilter. This minute amt of porous material will have negligible, if any, effect on medication dosing, if it becomes necessary that you should need to medicate.
If you’re cycling the QT, or any tank for that matter, don't use fish, including damsels. Simply use a piece or two of Live Rock. And, don't forget to feed the rock. [This means give the rock fish food. LR is alive because of the animals within it. All animals need to eat, so feed your rock]. In a Qt, once the cycle is complete, you can return your LR to the display BEFORE you ever put fish in the quarantine.


Staff member
by jwtrojan44
NOTE: This procedure can not be performed in an environment containing live rock, live sand or inverts [including crabs, corals, etc.] If you have a strictly Fish-Only setup, then the treatment can be done within the display, otherwise, you will need to treat infected fish in a quarantine/hospital tank.
You will need: Refractometer or a glass hydrometer calibrated to tank temperatures, pH buffers, a tank or quarantine area for the infected fish that is adequately filtered.
Hyposalinity is a procedure involving lowering the salinity from normal tank levels to 14 ppt (1.009 Specific Gravity) over the course of 48 hours. This is done by doing a series of small water changes using fresh dechlorinated water. During the procedure, pH must be closely monitored as pH tends to drop as water become less saline. Fish are maintained in hyposaline conditions for three weeks after all symptoms are gone. Again, accurate measuring is essential, and the standard swing arm hydrometers are not going to work. A refractometer or large glass lab grade hydrometer calibrated to tank temperatures is needed. Once the fish have been asymptotic for three weeks, the salinity is then raised back to display tank levels over the course of a week. Fish can not tolerate rapid increases in salinity. Leave the fish in quarantine at display tank levels for another week.
Your display will now have been fishless for at least four weeks, sufficient time to allow the parasite’s life cycle to be interrupted. ****** is an obligate parasite that requires a fish host. No fish=No host=No parasite. Ich is a fish-only parasite, it will not affect inverts.
Continue to monitor pH daily during the process and be prepared with buffers to address any pH problems. Also keep the water clean through proper filtration.


Staff member
Temperature does matter when using a refractometer with ATC Automatic Temperature Compensation. But in most every case ...... only when we calibrate it.
Refractometers used to measure salinity have an optical glass prizm inside.
As light enters the prizm, the light is bent.
This light is bent and projected through to the eyepiece, where we see the upper and lower color line, as it's projected through the scale graduations.
We place a sample of our tankwater on the glass prizm, flip down the light diffusing lid, and allow light to shine through the device.
The amount the light is bent, is a direct result of how much "stuff" is in the sample.
The stuff in this case is salt ( and all the other minerals and elements in our saltwater ).
When we look at pure water - the light is not bent much.
When we look at saltwater - the light is bent more.
The whole thing about using these types of refractometers, and getting good accurate results, is by following the calibration procedure.
When we calibrate it - we place a few drops of distilled water on the prizm. Then we MUST allow this distilled water to come to the same temperature of the refractometer. Normally this is 68 degrees F.
The device is built to be calibrated at 68 degrees F.
If you calibrate it with distilled water at any other temperature - then you will introduce error into the calibration procedure.
Basically - you'd be calibrating it to a different temperature than it was designed for. This would give you false readings every time you used it from that point on.
It's the room temperature that the refractometer is kept in, and used in, that is important when you calibrate it with distilled water.
The drops of distilled water will become whatever temperature the unit is. In other words - you place a few drops of distilled water on the prizm that is already at 68 F.
The drops will either warm up to or cool down to 68 F rather quickly.
Then, after a short period of time, you zero the device by turning the screw to align the scale's 1.00 SG and 0.0 ppt to line up with the two color boundary line. We shift the scale when we calibrate it.
As long as you do this calibration at 68 F, then you're good to go.
Afterwards - should the room temperature that you keep and use your refractometer stay within the 50 to 86 degrees F range, then the ATC auto temp compensation will adjust the reading for you. It's the room temperature ( refractometer temperature ) not the tankwater temperature that is temperature compensated and corrected.
The ATC is just another piece of glass ( prizm ) inside the unit that bends the light backdown. It sort of bends the light in the opposite direction as the main prizm. Not very much - just a little.
This feature "corrects" the image as the scale is viewed through the eyepiece. But again .... this auto temp compensation will only correct the reading we see if the refractometer and sample are at a temperature between 50 to 86 F.
Both salinity ppt and specific gravity "readings" are affected by temperature when using a refractometer. They have to be - they are on the same scale.
The salinity of the tankwater is not greatly affected by temperature, within the ranges we keep our aquariums. That tankwater contains so many parts per thousand of salt no matter what the temperature.
It's when we try to measure it, or convert this ppt into the specific gravity scale ...... that's when temperature comes into play.
Salinity in PPT or parts per thousand is just that.
Seawater is normally around 35 parts per thousand.
If you had 3500 pounds of saltwater, and boiled off all the water, you'd be left with 35 pounds of salts.
Specific gravity is not the same at all.
Specific gravity is a comparison of the saltwater to that of pure water.
Pure water having a specific gravity of 1.000
If you take 1 milliliter of pure water ( 1 cubic centimeter or cc ) and weigh it ...... it would weigh exactly 1.000 grams at 68 F.
If you take 1 milliliter of saltwater ( 1 cubic centimeter or cc ) and weigh it ..... it would weigh more than 1.000 grams at 68 F.
Why would it weigh more ? Because there's more stuff in it than just water. Theres' salt in there too, along with the pure water.
So it's going to weigh a little more. It's going to weigh 1.0XX
XX being the weight of the salt in that little cubic centimeter box.
How much more it weighs ? It all depends.
It depends on the actual amount of salt and minerals dissolved in the sample .... and it depends on the temperature. Now we're talking about density. How much stuff is dissolved in the water.
And the density of a given volume of liquid changes as the temperature changes.
If you're using a refractometer with ATC - and calibrate it right - and stay within the 50 to 86 F range, then you need not worry.
If you're using a refractometer without ATC - you still must calibrate it right ....... but you'll need a chart to correct the reading to the temperature of the sample.
If you are using either a floating or swing arm hydrometer - then you MUST know what temperature it has been calibrated at ( designed at ) and what the temperature of your tankwater is at the time you measure.
Then you look at a chart that plots temperature vs specific gravity - and determine the actual salinity in ppt.
Also realize that there are refractometers used to measure other liquids as well .... and some of them are designed to be calibrated/used at temperatures other than 68 F


Staff member
Ich is a ciliated protozoan called Cryptocaryon irritans. Common names for this parasite in the hobby are: Ick, Ich, white spot disease.
There are only 2 viable choices for treatment for ich. Copper and hyposalinity. Hyposalinity is safe and beneficial in more respects than just getting rid of the parasite, so there really is no reason not to use this as a treatment choice for this parasite. So-called Reef Safe medications are risky business. They are never very effective and could effect your reef ecosystem and inverts.
The “Bug”. What is it? How does it Work?

Ich has a multiple stage life cycle of approx. 2 wks at tropical aquarium temperatures [77-80 degrees] during which time the parasite undergoes 4 phases:
1.The trophont stage is seen as the mature parasite attached to the fish, feeding off fish tissue. This has the appearance of salt-like grains often described by hobbyists as white spots or white dots, thus the common name of the disease, “White-Spot Disease”. What the hobbyist is actually seeing with these white dots is a protective covering, or cyst, which the parasite creates over itself as a means of protection. Parasite defense mechanism! As the parasite feeds it will grow in size. It is this growth or varying sizes of the trophont that may confuse the hobbyist to think that the infected fish is suffering from some other malady [such as lymphocysts]. The visible distinction between Ich, and some other problem is usually numbers. Left untreated, ich will multiply on the fish and usually cover the body—fins and body alike. [cycle timeframe: aprrox. 7 day stage]
2.The tomont stage occurs when the trophont matures after having fed on your fish for around a week. At this point, the parasite, engorged and well-fed on your fish, detaches its protective cystic covering, leaves the host fish and swims in the water column for several hours until it can find a place in the aquarium to settle. It will then attach itself to a surface in the aquarium: Sand, live rock and, perhaps even the surface of rocks where coral is attahced, or even the aquarium glass, filters, whatever. Once settled the cells within the cyst begin dividing to form more parasites [up to several hundred]. [cycle timeframe: several hours]
3.The tomite stage
, are the products of the parasite reproducing. They become free-swimming in the aquarium as theronts. [cycle timeframe, approx 4 days at 77-80 degrees water temp].
4.The theront stage
of ich are free-swimming protozoans that must locate a host fish within several hours, or die trying. This is the stage when fish become vulnerable to infection. The infection is transmitted through the water column.
When can I kill ich?

Some ich can be killed while still on the fish with freshwater dips
. The operative word here being only “some”. Freshwater dips will not cure ich . At best, it can be employed when a fish is so infected with parasitic cysts that serious consequence, such as eminent death, will likely occur if something is not done immediately.
Effective treatment, however, can not occur until the parasite has left the fish. Using hyposalinity as a treatment, the parasite is killed when the protozoa is in the tank, on a hard surface, during what would be the reproduction stage. The hypo-saline conditions kill the parasite at the tomont stage of the life cycle. In a copper treatment, the medication targets the infectious, free-swimming theront.
Why Should I Care About When the ICH can be killed, as long as it is Killed?

Because there is a common misconception that the protozoa can be killed as soon as treatment begins, and this is not the case. The hobbyist needs to understand the stages of this particular “bug” in order to eradicate it.
Also, always keep in mind that ich is an organism, its lifecycle is not going to be like clockwork in the sense that all parasites in your tank are going to be at the exact same stage simultaneously.
Most Effective Treatment

HYPOSALINITY is Osmotic Shock Therapy [OST]. O.S.T. places the infectors [ich] in an environment in which they cannot hope to survive while the host, (or infected fish) can. This remedy WILL NOT work in reef systems or invert tanks as it incorporates lowering the specific gravity of the entire aquarium to 1.009 SG or to 14-16ppt [parts per trillion] salinity---this SG/salinity being too low for inverts, LR or LS. Marine invertebrates have the same osmotic concentration as the surrounding water and if placed in hyposaline conditions they will likely die of osmotic shock. Likewise, this procedure should not be used on sharks/rays, only boney fish. The procedure, can, however, work very well in strictly fish-only set ups.
The method of lowering salinity/SG is simple: Over the course of 48-hrs, salt water in the tank is replaced with fresh RO or DI water in several, but small increments until a SG of 1.009/salinity 14-16 ppt is achieved. Maintain pH, as pH tends to lower in hypo-saline water; you need to maintain a pH which is safe for marine fish and consistent with the levels in the display/hospital tank. The best instruments to use for measuring specific gravity are refractometers or high-quality, lab-grade glass hydrometers. The reason these instruments are recommended is because of their precision and the need to be very precise in attaining therapeutic SG/salinity for the procedure. Never use plastic sing arm type hydrometers. They are basically useless for this procedure, and, really, they are so inaccurate that they should not even be used for routine salt water assessment either. As to the beneficial microbes you rely upon to provide natural filtration in your aquaria/QT, NOT TO WORRY! The bacteria colony will survive, the fish will be more than fine; Ich, however, will not survive. By lowering the salinity, you will also be lowering the osmotic pressure of the water. The parasites NEED high osmotic pressure to convert saline water into freshwater. All marine animals need freshwater as we do [these parasites are considered marine animals as well, BTW]. They just convert it differently, usually via their tissues. Reduce this necessary pressure and the ich will die. As a higher life form, the fish will do fine with this short-term treatment. Preference for this treatment of ich over copper is based on toxicity. Hyposalinity has no ill effects on fish during or after treatment, whereas copper is a toxin, and could have enduring negative effects on fish even following a successful treatment.
Maintain the 1.009 SG/16-14 ppt salinity in the tank for 3-4 wks AFTER no visible signs of ich are present with your fish. After that time, you can slowly, over the course of several [5-7] days, raise the salinity back to normal levell. Take longer raising the salinity then you did lowering it. If the fish are in a separate treatment tank, leave them there for 5-7 days after returning the salinity to normal levels. If the fish are well after this time, then move them back to the display.
Copper Treatment
is highly effective when applied precisely and monitored closely. The drawbacks to copper, however, unlike hyposalinity, is that copper is a toxin---to both parasite, as well as your fish.
In this treatment, the hobbyist will use use [best choice] Cupramine which is manufactured by Seachem. You will also need a compatible copper test kit that will “work with” the copper. If you use Cupramine, then also select Seachem’s copper test kit.
You should always set up a hospital tank, never adding copper directly to your display. At all times, maintain therapeutic copper levels in the hospital, using the copper test kit daily. READ THE LABEL of your medication and follow the directions. Like hyposalinity, copper treatment requires precision. Not enough copper, and the treatment is ineffective. Too much copper, and the treatment could be lethal to your fish. Take care, be attentive.
The treatment course for copper is 3 weeks after you have attained therapeutic levels. Following treatment, you should leave your fish in the hospital tank for an additional week for observation.
What else should I do during treatment?

Continue common sense maintenance practices. That means water changes, water quality tests, etc. In this case, while treating, you will want to perform water changes that match the water in your QT. If your tank is under hyposalinity, then the water you change out, must also be at the same salinity/pH as the water you remove from the tank. Likewise, if you remove copper treated water, then the water you put back into the tank needs to be copper treated as well, at the the appropriate therapeutic level.


Staff member
In a separate dedicated container fill with water from your display. Use a 37% formaldehyde solution [brand name Formalin which is sold in the hobby] at 20 drops for each gal of water. Be sure to aerate the bathe water using an airstone that is deadicated to formalin bathes. Place infected fish in the bathe for 45 minutes, every other day, 3-5 treatments.
Warning: This is a toxic medication so don't overdose. When finished with the bath, safely disgard the bath water. Do not use the same water for subsequest treatments. Take care not to have contact with the formalin.


Staff member
I basically make my own fish foods. You can get a bag of frozen seafood which are sold to make seafood salads, oriental foods, etc., at the grocery store [ask the attendant at the seafood counter] or you can see what is available directly from the fresh seafood counter such as: octopus, scallops, shrimp, squid, clams, etc. Generally, no oily fish, such as salmon, however, if you have a fish that is suffering from Head and Lateral Line Erosion [HLLE], you can certainly target feed the effected fish with small pieces of oily foods a few times a wk [high in Omega3 Fatty Acids which is known to improve many cases of HLLE. Food process** this mix until it is pretty much a "mush" then roll it out on a flat pan in a square shape. Freeze it until it is solid, but not frozen like a block. Depending on how much seafood you have, you may be able to cut this up in a few 4" sq blocks [the size that brine shrimp is pkged in--the non-cube variety]. Do the cutting then place each "block" into a small freezer ziplock for storage [each having their own bag]. You can cut off chunks as needed for feeding. Use Zoecon or minced fresh garlic added directly into the seafood as you food process. If you are also feeding your fish veggies, like seaweed selects, shredded carrots, broccoli, etc., you can, as well, mix this right into the food processor with the sea food. If your fish likes a particular frozen food a lot, go ahead and mix that in as well.
Make sure you wash down your fresh foods thoroughly before mixing and let them drain off excess water before you begin the food processing. No need to add any water to the mix. In fact, I don’t suggest doing that at all.
As far as I'm concerned, home made foods made specific for your type of fish is the way to go, particularly fish that are obviously not healthy. It is easy and cheaper than the watered down foods that are sold for the hobby. Look at the ingredients of any frozen foods sold for the hobby. What is the primary ingredient----? “Moisture”…..yeah, your fish needs more of that, right……….
**I use a small dedicated food processor/chopper that cost me around $12. Excellent just for this purpose.


Staff member
Information by Bang Guy
The success rate with small tanks and new setups is dismal. Copepods, Amphipods, and smallish Isopods are also usually available for Mandarins in established tanks. Refugiums help a lot as far as growing critters to feed Dragonettes.
There are no sure fire frozen foods for Dragonettes. Once in a while one can be trained to eat frozen foods but it's not all that common.
Brine Shrimp are not an acceptable substitute. Dragonettes will eat them but they are nutritionally deficient. Frozen Mysis would be a great alternative if you can get one to eat it.
I would reccomend that you assume a Dragonette will not eat frozen food unless you witness it yourself.
It typically takes 3 - 6 months for a Mandarin to die of malnutrition from inappropriate foods. Typically the clock startes ticking the day they are removed from the wild.


Staff member
By Thomas712
Popeye is also known as exophthalmoses or exophthalmia. It is more of a condition than a disease. It appears as an extruded eye where the eye socket is out further than normal, it can also be accompanied by cloudy eye if a pathogen is present. All this equals an eye trauma. It is not contagious. Even with these symptoms the fish can still appear to be healthy baring any pathogen that may be present. A pathogen is: a specific causative agent (as a bacterium or virus) of disease.
It is normally caused by environmental conditions like poor water quality, high DOC’s, high nitrates, improper catching like when using a net, fighting with other fish, or by having hit something hard in the tank like rocks, heaters, or any other stationary object. It can also be caused by bacteria, parasites, virus or a growth behind the eye.
In minor cases of Popeye the eye will usually return to normal without blindness. If more serious the eye may appear colorless, grey or have that clouded look, and could result in blindness in the eye. If both eyes are affected and are severe the eyes may burst or disappear in which case the fish may not be able to recover and may die.
Overwhelmingly it appears that the first step to take is to do a large water change. At least 30%. This can be done in the main tank with fresh saltwater that has been vigorously airiated and mixed for at the very least a 24 hour period, using 2 or 3 day aged water would be better. Raw saltwater,freshly mixed and not aged and aerated is stressful to fish and highly irritating to sensitive gill tissues. Why the water change? This will help remove DOC’s and Nitrates and improve the condition of the overall system, providing a cleaner and healthier environment for the fish to recuperate in, quite possibly removing that condition which caused the Popeye in the first place. In most minor cases the injury will heal itself, however it also depends on what caused the condition in the first place.
The second step is using meds. Typical meds used for Popeye include: Melafix, Maracyn-Two, and Nitrofurazone. I have also seen where Kanamycin sulfate and Neomycin have been used, as well as Tetracycline and Chloramphenical. I won’t mention copper.
If meds are the answer then all the rules of the Q-tank apply, and for around 50 bucks your in business with a QT. If you don’t have one, do it now.
If using meds like antibiotics then you must QT the fish. Antibiotics are not always safe for inverts. Some can kill the zooxanthellae that live within the tissues of photosynthetic animals. Not a good thing to use on crabs, snails, corals or your sand bed.
Maracyn–Two or Nitrofurazone are the two meds of choice here.
Using Maracyn-Two; Maracyn is Minocycline and comes in fresh and saltwater formulas. Both are the same medicine with one exception, the saltwater formula contains B vitamins that are hard to consume when the fish is exposed to the antibiotic, thus the addition of the B vitamin. A broad-spectrum antibiotic for internal or external gram negative bacterial infections. Effective treatment of fin and tail rot, popeye, gill disease, dropsy, bleeding or red streaks, secondary and internal infections. Effective even when fish won't eat.
Use the Maracyn-Two at the double dose each and every day for 7 to 10 days if the infection appears to be internal, 5 to 7 days for external. A small water change before each dose is recommended because the organics in the water can inactivate the antibiotics.
NITROFURAZONE is bactericidal for many gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria causing disease in fresh water and marine fishes. This antibacterial is effective for control of Aeromonas, Vibrio and related species. Nitrofurazone is particularly useful for control of minor topical skin infections of marine fishes that have not become systemic (internal).
Using Nitrofurazone (Furacyn): Dose 30 to 40mg/gal in quarantine only. Dose on the first day only and leave the fish in the treated water 3 to 5 days. Feed lightly.