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Thread: Information Needed in a Fish Problem Post

  1. #1
    Brittle Starfish

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    May 2006
    So CA
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    Information Needed in a Fish Problem Post



    You see something wrong with your marine fish, or think that something is wrong with your marine fish, and you are concerned. You want to ask what is going on. You post your questions, but the quality of the answers will depend upon the information you provide in the first post. Usually the more information you provide, the better those that respond can help, including myself. Ideally, you do not want to provide a tome of information. It would probably take too long to write it all out and by then, the fish could be in even worse condition. So, in an attempt to help the poster focus on what is likely to be important information to provide in the post, along comes this post with some suggestions and recommendations of the Information Needed in a Fish Problem Post.


    Information about the fish is needed. Things you observe in behavior cannot be communicated with a photo, so a description of what you see is the most important thing to accurately convey. Feel free to cut-and-paste these questions, along with their answers, in your post. By doing this, you can save some time writing more words.

    A LIST
    1. Scientific name of the fish (or at least a definitive common name)
    2. Size of fish (length from tip of mouth to base of tail)
    3. How long have you had this fish
    4. Is the fish in quarantine or the display tank
    5. Describe any unusual behavior and observations you have:
    a. Breathing faster than 100 times per minute
    b. Flashing (scratching on surfaces)
    c. Skin with spots, damage, wounds, discoloration, etc.
    d. Fin(s) with damage, ragged, missing, etc.
    e. Eye(s) cloudy - be sure to say it is one eye or both eyes
    f. Unusual swimming (just in a corner, pacing, surface, swimming in a pump current, etc.
    g. If you believe this may be a problem with another marine lifeform in the display tank, you need to post all marine lifeforms you have in with the fish (other fishes, corals, mobile and immobile invertebrates)
    6. Is the fish eating? List all foods, vitamin and fat supplements you use, and how often and how much food you feed the fish.


    The second and almost as important bit of information needed is information about water quality. Not all water quality matters can be tested for. Be sure to read this: What is Water Quality. The more information you can provide the better. Not only write out actual test results, but provide us what your tank looks like.

    B LIST
    1. Water chemistry: ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, phosphates, alkalinity, calcium, magnesium
    2. Water condition: pH, temperature, specific gravity
    3. Report any of the following that you see in the aquarium:
    hair algae; micro algae; cyanobacteria growths (red slime algae); dinoflagellate (zooxanthellae) growths; brown algae; diatom growth; slimes; off-colored patches on rock or substrate that are not coralline; nuisance microbes and/or plants; etc.?
    4. List all tank mates and marine life in the display (if that is where the fish currently is kept), if you didn't already for the A list.


    Last but not least is the kind of environment the fish is living in. Information about your system is helpful. We do not mean that every pump or piece of equipment be listed, but there are a few things that may important in why the fish is having a problem. So, if the fish is currently in the display tank of a marine system, you want to provide the following information.

    C LIST
    1. Describe the marine system (deep sand bed? sump? refugium? live rock (how many pounds) total? skimmer? total gallons in system?
    2. Describe the display tank (dimensions, gallons, how much live rock is in the display (in pounds)?


    A picture is worth a thousand words. If you can take a photo of the fish (assuming you see there is something on the fish), that would go a long way to help in trying to find out what it might be. You want a photo where the fish fills the entire frame of the photo. Get close! Another photo closer, focused on the exact spot you see the problem should be taken and posted, too. This is hard. Give it a try.


    Not all the information may be needed, but obviously the A LIST is essential, with the B LIST and photo being very helpful. We can usually ask more about the system, if you don’t provide the information, but try to at least include the size of the display tank.

    I look forward to your post!
    Last edited by leebca; 05-11-2008 at 09:03 AM.

  2. #2
    Owner / Administrator
    Scooterman's Avatar
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    Oct 2003
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    And to think, all this time I was taking the short cut by leading to your forum
    Good Information Lee, I know we can't be here 24 & 7, so this information is helpful. I would like to think anyone with problems would feel free to ask for help or at least PM someone who may be able to or at least point them in the right direction, after all that is why most of us are here for, If we can't help someone succeed then I just don't feel right.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Orting WA
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    Hi I have 4 young yellow tangs & 4 young blue tangs & they all seem to have white edges on their fins & white film on their bodies ? But I only see it under the blue lights ? There is one blue tang that I can see it on with the white & blue lights on. I do have other fish, crabs, shrimp's, Anemone & some soft carol in this setup. Is there a treatment I can use to help the fish with out killing my shrimp, crabs & other life ? I do not have a QT setup :-(
    Anemone KING

  4. #4
    1guydude's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
    p-town, WA
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    Hey man I got some stuff fron obd u cab have and try. Lmk
    U have to turn the skimmer off. Treat. Wc. Treat. Wc. Than skimmer and back goin
    Wc again prob lol.
    Anyways. Lmk I think its called herba something
    -299g display.

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