Dammit! I liked that fish
September 24, 2008 12:02 PM   Subscribe

Help save my clown fish. :-(

I am a new saltwater aquarium owner with a tank that is be fully cycled. I have a tang and a trigger fish as well and both get along great with my percula, but I think my clownfish (4 weeks in tank) is dying and I can't figure out why.

last week it started hiding in the back corner of my tank after I shifted some live rock (I added two new rocks). THere was an algae bloom that I took care of by doing water changes (I do 10% weekly, usually fresh water but recently DI- levels aren't an issue in my tank)

It has been 'breathing heavily' and in the last day it's white stripes have started to discolor red, like there are burst capillaries or something. I am worried she might have ingested sand, but it's not Ich and I am new at this so I don't know warning signs. Recently she started swimming around, but today she was having trouble and I found her lying on the bottom of the tank, I netted her to isolate her and now she is swimming around the top of my isolation tank. Please help!
posted by Large Marge to Pets & Animals (8 answers total)
Also- the past two weeks there has a been a white tube of something hanging off her around her rear end that occaisonally comes off, but comes back after a day or two.
posted by Large Marge at 12:04 PM on September 24, 2008

It's been a long while since I've had an aquarium, but I had a single incident as you described with a freshwater species.. it's a parasite. Fish is in distress, causing the coloration and behavioral changes. These things are nasty, preventing the fish from digesting food (even though it's eating).

You'll need to medicate your tank. Be really careful in selecting the right medicine - copper based medicines are big no-no's in the saltwater side. Best to talk to your local fish store guy pronto!
posted by Vantech at 12:16 PM on September 24, 2008

This forum post says that pretty much the same thing happened to their clown fish. The cause was Brooklynella Hostilis and lists many of the same symptoms you listed:
Some possible visible symptoms are the following:

• Increased mucus production
• Loss of appetite
• Turbidity of the skin
• String-like material hanging from the fish
• Increased respiration, or even open-mouth gasping
• Hyperactivity in early stages
• Hiding or reclusiveness
• Cloudy eyes associated with secondary bacterial infections
• Faded colors or discolored areas
• Lethargic in late stages
• Hanging at the surface or laying on the bottom in late stages of infection
• Rapid weight loss associated with dehydration, as fish lose their ability
to osmoregulate.
• Loose scales
• Secondary bacterial infections

posted by lilkeith07 at 12:16 PM on September 24, 2008

This isn't helpful, but sometimes new live rock can introduce new parasites from the rock.
posted by Pants! at 12:24 PM on September 24, 2008

Are you absolutely sure that they're all getting along?

The tang or the trigger may be stressing the clown when you're not around.
posted by wavering at 1:16 PM on September 24, 2008

Also, not to bring you down any more than you're already feeling, clownfish are relatively hard to keep in captivity. I read a magazine at work (petsmart) than said only something like 62 percent of captive clownfish last a year.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 2:09 PM on September 24, 2008

It died, I think it was Brooklynella judging by the symptoms, but I think I caught it too late. I think what happened is that I brought in a coral from a tank that probably had it. Now I just need to get my tank brooklynella free
posted by Large Marge at 2:59 PM on September 24, 2008

If you have never browsed the forums at www.reefcentral.com, they are a great resource for saltwater tanks.
posted by kenbennedy at 12:41 PM on September 25, 2008

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